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Using Money to Buy Free Time
Old 07-26-2017, 05:53 PM   #1
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Using Money to Buy Free Time

Want to be happier? Buy yourself more free time
Los Angeles Times-12 hours ago
Can buying time cause greater happiness?
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:34 PM   #2
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Sometimes I feel like I need to buy time from someone to help me buy myself some free time.

There are some repairs/maintenance/upgrades I want to get done around the house, and it's a little frustrating just how much time I spend researching, finding someone that I will even consider so I can get a quote, and then getting the quote, and then more research after thinking through the options.

It's one of the reasons I still do as much DIY as I do, it's a lot of work to hire someone, and feel confident they will do the job right. Sometimes it just easier to DIY. And I've been pretty lucky, most of the people I have hired did a good job, and would fix something if there was a small problem. But it's still a lot of work.

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Old 07-26-2017, 07:15 PM   #3
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Oh, finding the right person is a lot of work. We had a terrific handyman for about 20 years. Then he retired. Haven't been able to replace him.

I do try to farm out as much work as I can. I am not handy and going back to Home Depot because I bought the wrong part is not good for my mental health. (Home Depot being about a 30 minute drive).

I few years back (10? years or so), I was reading in the backyard when I realized it was time for me to water (i.e. I was reminded to water). I just didn't want to do it. We eventually found a neighborhood high school student to water (a real good expenditure of money). Unfortunately for us these kids go on to college, so there is a turnover about every two years. But, the kids have been great and everyone wins.
Makes me very happy--the article speaks true.

Around here (West Los Angeles) even though I don't quite live in that area (but, if someone lives in Northern Illinois they probably wouldn't know where I'm talking about anyway)--anyhow, some people around here have personal assistants who do all sorts of things that are time draining. It's not all that unusual to have a personal assistant for, let's say two half-days a week to keep things going.

as a side note: I didn't read the article--I had someone read it for me and then summarize it.
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Old 07-27-2017, 11:58 AM   #4
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I came across the article in another newspaper. It looks like it's making the rounds.

My perspective of it is that you kind of have to strike the right balance between "frugal with your money" and "throwing money at it". In my working life, I'm make decisions to "suffer" a bit in order to be able to save and achieve my goal of early retirement. But sometimes it's not worth the suffering and you just need to throw money at it.
In retirement, while some may have full of activities, others my have a lot of free cycles, so I'm guessing tasks that are time sinks may might be able to be done at a more leisurely pace, making it more somewhat more enjoyable or at least less painful.
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Old 07-27-2017, 04:19 PM   #5
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I pay to have my house cleaned every two weeks and for yardwork. I used to trim the smaller shrubs, groundcover, and vines myself but finally broke down and paid the gardener. After I retire, I plan to downsize and would like to buy a place with a small yard that I can manage. But not the housework. I recently tried cleaning it myself for a year and hated every minute. When I decided to TMY, one reason was that the extra money would more than pay for a housekeeper and I calculated that the extra time worked would be about the same amount of time spent cleaning over the next 20 years.
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Old 07-27-2017, 05:18 PM   #6
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I've heard it said that one needs three things to be happier (time, energy, and money), and that we go through three stages in life with respect to these:
In our youth, we have plenty of time and energy, but not enough money;
In our mid years, we have energy and money, but no time;
Finally, later in life, we have time and money, but no energy.

I think the secret to being happier, is to trade off some of what you have in surplus to make up for what you lack. Not too long ago, I had plenty of energy and money, but zero time. I happily traded money to get more free time. Essentially, that's also what most of us here have done (or are planning to do) by retiring early: giving up a bit of potential earnings in order to have more time to enjoy life, while we still have the health and energy.

I think there's opportunities in each of the three stages. I'm teaching my kids, who are solidly in stage 1, to enjoy the simple (i.e., cheap) things in life in order to take advantage of their surplus of time and energy.
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Old 07-27-2017, 06:17 PM   #7
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I have a hard time relaxing. I'm looking for someone to pay to just goof off.
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Old 07-27-2017, 06:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by redduck View Post
Want to be happier? Buy yourself more free time
Los Angeles Times-12 hours ago
Can buying time cause greater happiness?
The article talks about working people happily spending money to have others doing chores for them. We can all understand that.

That's a bit different than retirees who may, stress on may, have some free time and do not mind doing some chores. For example, I now enjoy going getting groceries and cooking some meals. I cannot eat as much, so the joy of cooking now supplements the joy of eating. I also do some gardening that I did not have time to do before.

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I've heard it said that one needs three things to be happier (time, energy, and money), and that we go through three stages in life with respect to these:
In our youth, we have plenty of time and energy, but not enough money;
In our mid years, we have energy and money, but no time;
Finally, later in life, we have time and money, but no energy...
Eventually, we run out of time, and there's nothing one can buy. Cue the song "Dust in the Wind" by the Kansas band.


... nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy


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Old 07-28-2017, 08:10 AM   #9
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I bought free time with my money when I first switched from working full-time to part-time back in 2001. After having paid off my mortgage in 1998, I was basically living on one biweekly paycheck for the next 3 years, saving the rest. I surely didn't need all that extra money to live on, so I chose to forgo about 40% of my after-tax pay so I could recover my personal life by working only 20 hours a week. That initial part-time deal also included some telecommuting, so I had to haul my sorry a$$ to the office one day a week, greatly improving my life.


It was such a good "purchase," that in 2007 I did it again. I reduced my weekly hours worked from 20 to 12. But the final "purchase" was the best of all, retiring in late 2008 and eliminating all hours worked.
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:08 AM   #10
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I have a hard time relaxing. I'm looking for someone to pay to just goof off.
I'd be happy to help out, and my rates for basic goofing off are quite reasonable.
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Old 07-28-2017, 05:02 PM   #11
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I'd be happy to help out, and my rates for basic goofing off are quite reasonable.
Excellent! Give me a number and I will FAX you a $20 bill, daily.
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Old 07-28-2017, 05:52 PM   #12
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Can buying time cause greater happiness?
The problem is when the people you hire to save time end up causing more aggravation than they resolve. A case in point: for three consecutive years I tried to outsource the production of the tax returns for a multi-state partnership I manage. Three different providers, three different disasters. The last few years I've been doing the tax returns myself. Aggravating? Absolutely. But the NET aggravation is lower when I do them myself.
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Old 07-29-2017, 08:00 AM   #13
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If I had a high expectation of a positive outcome by outsourcing a task, and the task wasn't something I liked doing, I wouldn't mind spending money on it. But like socca and his tax returns, you can find yourself spending a lot of time and aggravation selecting someone to do the work, a lot of time managing the people doing the work, and a lot of time and aggravation cleaning-up the mess that the hired help makes. And for me, I tend to put in so much effort trying to avoid all of those pitfalls, that I conclude I might as well just do it myself.
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Old 07-29-2017, 10:23 AM   #14
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....as a side note: I didn't read the article--I had someone read it for me and then summarize it.
But did you pay them to read it and summarize it for you?
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Old 07-29-2017, 11:25 AM   #15
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But did you pay them to read it and summarize it for you?
Well, about that, hmmn, 'ya see, uh, not exactly. But maybe I would have been happier if I did pay her. I imagine she would have been happier if I had paid her.
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Old 07-29-2017, 11:41 AM   #16
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I want to summarize (in part) the article that prompted this thread.

An experiment was done where a group of working people were given $40 to spend on a time-saving purchase (e.g cleaning services, or errand running, or having groceries delivered). This was to be done over a weekend.

The following weekend, this same group was given $40 to spend on material goods (e.g.clothing, games).

One of the results of the experiment indicated that the subjects in the experiment, after spending money on time saving purchases, were "left in a better mood" than they were after buying material items.
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