On July 19, I traveled to Cashiers, North Carolina, a spectacularly beautiful community nestled in the Nantahala National Forest. Cashiers is home to The Chattooga Club: a special venue for intimate family retreats. Here, I spoke to families about the benefits of our evidence-based investing approach and the power of Taking the Long View—a concept that, if you’re reading this, you’re surely familiar with.
But right now, I want to revisit a specific facet of my talk that many of us have a tendency to overlook: time.
When most people think of wealth, they think of money—understandably so. But I’d like to expand the definition of wealth to encompass not just the amount of money in one’s portfolio, but how much time they have at their disposal. In fact, it’s quite possible that you’re a “time billionaire.” Just like people are billionaires in terms of dollars, if you have more than a billion seconds left in your life, you’re a time billionaire (concept recently discussed on Tim Ferriss podcast with Graham Duncan).
Let’s break this down.
A million seconds is 11 days. A billion seconds is just over 31 years. With an average life expectancy of about 80 years, anyone 50 years old or younger is a time billionaire.
Inspiring as this analogy sounds, some time billionaires don’t take advantage of their wealth. They devalue their precious seconds with weak relationships, excessive work, and mindless entertainment. Sometimes a traumatic event can jolt us out of our negligence, but how can we help ourselves reframe or revalue our time?
To put the advantage of being a time billionaire in perspective, consider this: what if you were Rubert Murdoch, with an estimated fortune of 22 billion and you are 88 years old? How much do you think you would pay to relive the health and energy that defined your 30s? Now, consider what kind of price tag a 30-year-old would place on the next ten years of his life. Chances are, there’d be an enormous discrepancy because the 30-year-old doesn’t realize just how precious his time is, but he covets the financial freedom of Mr. Murdoch.
During joyful experiences (or any experience for that matter), try to pause and imagine yourself in the future asking: How much would I pay to be in this moment again? Part of our mission at Hill Investment Group is to guide people towards financial freedom. But what’s the point of financial freedom if we can’t manage our time effectively enough to enjoy that freedom?
Whether you’re a time billionaire or a time millionaire, invest wisely—it’s your most valuable asset. Standing in the mountains of North Carolina reminded me to do the same.