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The one thing you can't buy is time

Our wedding day in Jamaica in 1995
Wedding day - a long time before FIRE

Today is our twenty fifth wedding anniversary, I'm sure I can't be old enough for that! As they say, I'd have got less time for murder - sorry Sally, I couldn't help myself. But joking aside, that twenty five years seem to have flown by pretty quickly.

That leads on to something else they say, which is that the one thing you can't buy is time. There's an argument this isn't completely true, money can give access to better living conditions and healthcare, both of which contribute to enhanced life expectancy. But in general, we know what the saying means and have probably held it to be generally true.

But is the concept of financial independence another thing that tests the adage? FI may not give us more years in an absolute, life expectancy sense, but attaining FI can provide more time for the things that we choose as being important.

For example, my old life included 12 hours a day, for five days a week, either being at work or on the commute to work. I'd typically leave home at 6:30am and get back at 6:30pm, although there were many longer days too. I did this because we had to earn money to live, put food on the table, clothe ourselves, pay the mortgage, do some fun stuff, occasionally waste money keeping up with the Joneses, as well as various other essential and slightly less essential things.

Then there was one of those lightbulb moment days. Had we actually crossed the line where, if I lost my job, we had enough money to still be OK? It turned out that we had. We'd got there in order to have security for our family, but it has another name, financial independence, although I didn't know that at the time.

A few years before becoming Mrs iRetiredYoung

I also found that I didn't have to lose my job based on something going wrong. There was an alternative, I could choose to lose it i.e. I could retire early which, a few years later, is what I chose to do. This had a special name too, and an acronym, FIRE for Financial Independence Retire Early, something else I didn't realise at the time. How come I didn't know this stuff, had I been living under a rock?

So with those savings/investments, the money that gave us financial independence, I chose to buy some time. Time to do the things that I want and choose to do. To be exact, I bought 12 hours of Monday to Friday time, or 60 hours a week, or around 2,736 hours a year, otherwise known as 228 days a year that I previously had to go to work and now don't have to. And I get this extra time every year. That's a lot of time that I bought!

So there's that saying, "the one thing you can't buy is time". Well, it turns out that isn't necessarily true.

P.S. If you get to financial independence and the thing you choose to do is work, then that's just fine too. FI simply gives you the choice.


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I was a few days off 26 and Sally was 21. I bet it's a real divider of opinion as to whether money can buy time and happiness. I fall on the side that it can, or at least it can definitely help, although it's not a prerequisite - how's that for sitting on the fence🤣


Congratulations! Both of you look so young in those pictures. I'm with you about time. You can buy time to do what you want. Money can buy time and happiness. You just need to know how to use it.


We plan go away for a weekend, once that's a thing again, to celebrate. As to time, it's difficult to imagine how I used to have time for work - I guess the answer is that I used to do more work and less of "my own" things back then.


Congratulations on the anniversary, I hoped you were able to celebrate in lock-down. I like your comments on the value of time and that this is something you can 'buy' when you get to FI.

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