Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Time vs. Money

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - Around this time last year, I was returning from Europe to begin my first year of Business School. I've learned many things in the past year, but this strikes me as the most important learning, by far: The essential trade-off in life is between time and money. Time, as it turns out, is more valuable.

There are really only two simple reasons which illustrate why time is more valuable:

-Time is fixed. We cannot trade for more. To make matters worse, we can't definitively predict how much time we have. -Most of the things that (truly) make life worth living require time, but only modest amounts of money.

There are many more reasons - in addition to these two - why time is more valuable than money, but these two are pretty compelling on their own, no?

In the past year, I've had to make big decisions about my life. These big decisions, really come down to one thing: what do I value more, time or money? In my own life, I've chosen time over money and I think that is the better choice.

In the US, our culture (I think) values money too highly relative to time. Money is necessary in human society, so I don't think its wise for most people to forget about it...but we could stand to forget about it a little. If we did so, we would be better off individually and collectively.

Why? Because valuing money over time makes people do crazy things and it causes them to be unhappy. Marriages, families, communities, and nations fail when people value time over money (over the long-term). It's a sustainable proposition to value time over money in the long-term. Valuing money over time, in the long-term, is not a sustainable proposition.

Here's the question I'm grappling with now: how can we start to alter societal narratives about time and money to make it a healthier balance?

Any ideas?


As a shoutout to my Business School friends, here's another question. When making business decisions (about our careers or when making decisions in our official duties) why don't we value time?