Money, Time, Health. The Greatest of These is…


You know, I read a lot of books. I can divide them into self-help and others. Of the self-help books there are Mindset books and How-to books. The first part of our articles was the Mindset part. I hope you are now in the right Mindset for this process you will be undertaking. And it didn’t even cost you money! Now it is time to start learning the details.


The Details

To do this, it didn’t cost you money, but you had to expend the time to find the articles. You wouldn’t have had to do all that with a book. What you did was trade some of your time for some knowledge. In and of itself that knowledge does you no good. You could just go back to your job and work on documents or whatever else they have you do and never use that knowledge. Or, you could put it to good use. This knowledge will save you a ton of time in that you don’t have to go through all the mistakes I have made and you have a framework to begin your plan.

A friend of mine wanted to get into flipping houses but his problem was like so many others in that he didn’t have the money to purchase the house. The bank didn’t really know him because he hadn’t taken out loans other than his house, so the bank didn’t want to finance this project for fear that he couldn’t fix up the house. This was much before where I am now, so I didn’t have much advice for him. He talked to his friends and family and somehow raised the money to purchase the house. You can bet that took a lot more time than talking with the bank.

My friend got to work, but he had raised just enough to purchase the house but not to fix it up. On closing day, he walked into that smelly, dirty house, and must have cried. He didn’t have cash to purchase the materials necessary to rebuild that place. He didn’t have money, but he did have time, and health. He got started learning about how to tile and paint and many of the other things. He had to educate himself from the ground up and he fixed up that house, scraping by with a few more loans from friends. He fixed it up, sold the house, and walked away with a small profit (after paying back his creditors) and an intense desire to do it again. And next time would be better!

An econophysicist, if there is such a thing, would tell you that money, time, and health are simply ways of storing energy. The gasoline in your tank isn’t energy but it is a way of storing it. When we convert energy into some other form it can be used to do work. If you pound a nail into a board you are doing work, but it costs you time and health (because you get tired at the end of the day). You could pay money to a contractor who would pound that nail in for you. It frees you up to do other things but costs you money. The contractor trades his time and health for money, which he can convert into that new pickup he’s been wanting to buy.

Health goes in another way too. You might spend a bunch of your younger years tearing out asbestos tiles to save money and wind up with a shortened lifespan due to the effect of asbestos causing lung cancer (please understand that here are ways to work safely around asbestos). Or you might be wearing out your knees by tiling floors for a living. I’m not saying either of these things are bad to do, they are just trade-offs that one must make.

How much of money, time, and health do you have? Each has two components, which we have touched on. They have a real-time, daily component and a long term one. For instance, there are only 24 hours in a day and you must decide how to fill it. You work during a day, getting tired out, and you are not as effective in the evening as in the morning. Time also is your lifespan, finite and unknown. Money is the same way. Money in terms of cash is the real-time component. Long term, Money is cash-flow. Health is your general health and that of your family but short-term it is the energy you have to do labor. You have choices on how you spend these. Always seek to maximize one and minimize the expense of the others.
Isaac Newton said that energy could never be created or destroyed. In everything you do, you are trading one or more of these three for the other(s). Will you choose to spend your time and health and money sitting on the couch eating chips and watching Real Housewives, converting all that energy into fat around your middle? Or will you get out there and swing a hammer and convert time and health into money? Or will you use your mind and convert your time into money by building a real estate business?


Can I Do Some Work Myself?

Of course you can. If you don’t have the money, go ahead and do the work. The knowledge you learn will be so beneficial. You might learn how to do some plumbing. You may never want to do it again. That is just fine. But now you know about how much work it takes to put in a new toilet, or run PEX lines, and you know when a plumber’s bid is too high. You know what your project needs to get done. You can tell the plumber that you want PEX run from a manifold in a home-run system through that wall and into a ball-valve shutoff for the sink. Now you and the plumber both have a good idea of what needs to be done and his/her estimate will be more accurate. The plumber will get that you know what you are talking about and communication will be easier. This extends to any work you may need done.

So, money, time, and health – all very important. The greatest of these is…well…I don’t believe any one is greater than the other, but I do know that your time is finite. You can only decide with what to fill up your day. Beyond that, you have only so many years to accomplish your goals. You also can have a small impact on your health. You can exercise, eat right, make good health decisions if you have an illness.

All of these things are decisions you will need to make throughout your career. Start by spending your time (and health, sparingly) in order to build money. Later, let your money work for you. As a high-income earner, you will have a significant leg up on the competition in that you will have money you can spend right now. You probably have less time, so get that work done by somebody else! But if you have the time, you may want to DIY it to learn how the work is done.

I’m not suggesting that you do it all just to learn. Some things present danger to yourself or the property and should be done by one with experience. But there are a lot of things you can DIY. Just don’t become a DIY’er, as I did.


But that is another story.