The Optimal Time

“My number one rule is: Maximize your life experiences. So spend your money while you’re alive—whether it’s on yourself, your loved ones, or charity. And beyond that, find the optimal times to spend money.” — Bill Perkins, Die With Zero

The dilemma of how much money is enough is the epitome of a first world problem. It’s a fabrication of the society we happen to be in, designed to have us maximize our earning time that we might contribute as much of ourselves as possible before our effectiveness declines. Alternatively, we might choose to make the most of every day rather than making the most possible money in our careers. This is the opposite of nihilism, this is living with purpose and intent at the time in our lives when we are healthiest and most able to be active participants in exploring our potential.

There are two questions at work here: The where and when of spending time versus money. If a paycheck is the tradeoff for hours of our life, then what is that hour worth to us? We must set ourselves up to have just enough to get by until our very end, whenever that happens to be, without becoming a burden on our families. Perkins’ position is that most people overestimate how much they need in the end, at the expense of living in the middle. Will that time at the office have been worth it when we arrive on our deathbed? Just what are we trading in the process? Put another way, is this the optimal time to optimize time instead of money?

We each want to contribute something to the world. We must balance this with what the world gives back to us. If we don’t ask for our fair share of time, the time will simply find someone else who wants it more. The optimal time to live is now. Everything else is compromise and sacrifice. Be sure the trade is worthy of your life. We all know, deep down, what matters most. Now is the time to optimize how we’re living.

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