Budgets = Freedom
One of my favorite bits of philosophy/ad copy is from You Need a Budget:
Budgeting isn’t about restriction. It’s about setting and reaching your goals.
And while I don’t think the whole “time is money” thing is broadly true, budgeting affects them both in this way. The greater our ability to monitor, plan, and control where we spend our time/money, the more of it we’ll have for things we really truly care about.
Is the Millionaire Next Door Happy?
In myths about dragons, there’s lots of reasons given for why they hoard riches. Some stories say that a dragon’s belly is soft, so they lay atop the gold and jewels as a sort of armor. Other stories simply posit dragons as covetous and loving beautiful things. Either way, dragons do just one thing with their treasures: hoard them.
Wealth for its own sake doesn’t seem to offer much benefit, unless you do have a soft belly in need of armoring. The stat that’s frequently quoted is that beyond 75k per year happiness doesn’t really increase with increased income.
The benefit of more money, once a person is past that point of having to actively worry about it, is enhancing the other aspects of one’s life.
It is worth mentioning that another reason we like having more money is that it’s an easy (i.e. reductive) measure of success.
Efficiency is not an end to itself
One of my biggest gripes about technology is that while it makes everything go faster, we tend to use all that extra time we’ve been given to spend more time with technology. In his article Bullshit Jobs anthropologist David Graeber discussed the bizarre fact that while we’ve become infinitely more efficient, the workweek has stayed a consistent 40 hours (or more!) It seems that work, and by extension, tech, have become pursuits in their own right, rather than means to certain ends. The impulse of many people I know to create more work-life balance for themselves and to unplug are undoubtedly linked to this one core concern:
How do I spend my time, and does convenience allow me more time for the things I prioritize?
Nobody that manages to shorten their commute uses it to spend more time at the office.
What’s the takeaway?
Much like our |focus, our money and time are resources that are finite. All three have the nasty habit of slipping away into things we don’t want, need, or care about.
Sources, resources, links
One of my favorite and oft-reposted tumblr posts about a tiny dragon and its hoard.
It does seem as though at some point I am required to read Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Workweek