The Four Stages of Life and When to Prioritize Income vs Time
As you look at your career, there are largely two priorities to optimize. But, unfortunately, they're usually in conflict with each other.
- Maximize income.
- Maximize time.
With income, you can buy things, pay for your healthcare, invest in education, and somehow eliminate financial concerns that might keep you up at night.
With time, you can have experiences, be healthy, travel, and enjoy moments with friends and family.
Maximizing time or money will be competing priorities as you live your life and work your career.
There is a strong argument that, of course, one should always prioritize time. Because life can be short, and you can't take the money with you when it's all said and done.
While idealistic Mario nods his head, the pragmatic approach is different.
And it has to do with the reality that money earned and invested earlier in your career has exponentially more value due to compounding.
That means time invested maximizing income early in your career can afford you more time later than if you had attempted to maximize income later in your career.
So assuming an average lifespan of 80 years (this also works if you end up making it to 100), I recommend four distinct phases.
Be a child. Learn. Have fun. See if you can discover some areas of life that you're passionate about and want to learn more about in the next phase.
Maximize income during this time. Work hard. Learn as much as you can. Then, use some of that youthful energy to start a side project, become an entrepreneur, or speed up your way up the proverbial career ladder. 80% maximizing income. 20% maximizing time. Invest as much as you can, which should make the rest of your life much easier.
Even though you might be during your peak earning time now, I recommend that this is the time to maximize your time. Maybe don't retire yet, but spend lots of time with your friends and family. Invest in your health and have fun. You're in the middle of life, my friend. 80% maximize time. 20% maximize income. Keep investing and manage the assets you built in the earlier phase.
All time. If you still want to work to stay mentally fit, feel free to do so. But you shouldn't be worried about maximizing income at all anymore. Instead, manage your assets to spend on the things that provide you joy. Time with family and friends should be your top priority now.
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