Hi, Everyone. Welcome to the Wiser Financial Advisor with Josh Nelson, where we get real, we get honest, and we get clear about the financial world and your money.
This is Josh Nelson, Certified Financial Planner and founder and CEO of Keystone Financial Services. We love feedback and we’d love it if you would pass it on to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also please stay plugged in with us, get updates on episodes and help us promote the podcast. You can subscribe to us at Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast service. Let the financial fun begin.
One of my mentors is Tony Robbins, a business expert, author and speaker. He says, “Don’t let disappointment destroy you. Let it drive you.” And over the years in my career, I’ve had tens of thousands of financial conversations with people about their money, their lives, and their career situations. Oftentimes, people have told me that they wish they were further along; that they wish they had started their financial planning journey earlier. In some cases, they even say, “Josh, we wish we had talked to you and come to see you 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago—because we probably would have made some different decisions and we’d be a lot further along than we are right now.”
In speaking with a lot of different people, especially people that are further along in life, people maybe in their 80s, 90s and beyond, I’ve noticed that they have a better perspective than those of us who are younger. They understand that most of their days and years are gone. They’ve already invested those years and that’s behind them now. So, one of the observations that I’ve made based upon those conversations is that the worst possible trade we will ever make is trading our time for money. That is the worst possible trade because time is the one thing we can never get back once it’s gone.
Maybe we’ll make it into our 80s, 90s, even 100s. There are all kinds of great medical advancements and hopefully people will take care of themselves well enough to make it into their later years, especially if they can be healthy and of sound mind. A lot of people would prefer to be around. My grandma passed away a number of years ago. Toward the end of her life she had some heart failure and stuff going on, but she said, “You know, one of the reasons I want to be around is I want to see what happens.” She didn’t want to miss out. She was reading me Harry Potter books at the time and she never got to finish them because the books weren’t done by the time she passed away. She’s in Heaven right now and I’m sure they have the books there and she knows what happened in the end. But it’s really getting that perspective about time that helps us make better decisions along the way here on Earth.
Steve Jobs was arguably one of the most successful tech entrepreneurs of all time and he cofounded Apple. Steve Jobs died at age 56. He knew he was going to die for a while because he had pancreatic cancer and fought that battle for a number of years. But he said that remembering he was going to die was one of the key things that drove him. So I think that’s instructive for all of us to be thinking about in terms of how we invest our time. It’s important to ask ourselves: Are we making investments that free up our time, knowing that time is the one thing we can never get back once it’s gone?
Time is pretty valuable. If you think back to when you were a kid, it probably seemed like you had all the time in the world. You had decades ahead of you. And now, being aged 45 almost 46 now, I’m somewhere past that midway point of an average lifespan, so it’s something I’ve been thinking about. I’m asking: “How am I investing my time? Where am I putting in my time, which is finite? We all have a finite amount of time. Am I investing my time well, investing it purposefully into things that are going to make a difference, things I’ll be able to look back on someday and be glad about?” That’s something that bears thinking about—how we’re investing our time and does it make sense to do the activities we’re doing.
A lot of us started out with very little, and that’s why sometimes people trade time for money and not in a good way. When we started out we didn’t have much money and so we did stuff just because we had to. In those cases, you can’t really afford to hire people to do anything. In other words, you might be changing your own oil. I did that. It wasn’t something I really enjoyed doing, but it was a lot cheaper to do my own oil changes. Then there’s riding your bike when you can, cleaning your own place and such. There are a lot of things that as you get further along you figure out you can afford to do, but sometimes we just keep doing them because we’re so used to it. And maybe we’re that millionaire next door who is so good at putting money away, we really don’t want to spend it.
So, let’s think about this in terms of hiring other people to do stuff. We can’t do it all. We’ve got a certain amount of time. What if we were to hire other people? I apply a few different filters to that process for myself and I’d like to share them with you. How do I figure out what to delegate, what to hire other people to do, and what to retain myself?
Filter number one would come into play if you just don’t enjoy whatever it is. There’s something else you would rather be doing and somebody you’d rather be spending time with. There’s a task or chore that needs to be done—it could be something for your business if you own a business, or it could be something personal, like cleaning your house for example. We’ve all probably cleaned our own place when we could not afford to hire other people. In fact, we might have cleaned other people’s houses to make money. Then as we get further along, we might pay other people to do some things like cleaning our house while we go for a hike in the mountains or leave for the weekend instead of spending the time cleaning. So it might just be something you don’t enjoy. Some of you might love cleaning; it might be something you get personal satisfaction out of, so that’s great. When that’s the case, filter number one does not apply to you.
Filter number two is applied if you’re just not good at whatever the task is and you’re not willing to invest the time to get good at it. Or maybe somebody else could just do it better—in other words, you recognize that yeah, you could do it, but somebody else would do a better job. For example, hiring somebody to finish the basement. I know that although I’m not the handiest person in the world, I probably could figure that out, spend enough time and finish my basement. Or I could hire a contractor that would probably do a better job than I would.
Another example would be hiring a CPA to do your taxes, especially if you’ve got a more complicated tax situation. If you’ve got a higher income; if you’ve got a business or rental property or properties in multiple States and things like that, a tax return starts to get complicated. During my early years I just used TurboTax or way back when I went to H&R Block and sat with the person and they did the taxes. Then my situation got more complicated as time went on. I was running a business with a lot of different moving parts, and it made sense to hire A CPA. I’m a Certified Financial Planner, and taxes are a pretty big portion of that whole endeavor, but the reality is I don’t want to do the taxes. I’m not good at it. Somebody else is better at it, so I’d rather hire somebody else to do my taxes so I can spend my time being a sounding board and an advisor to my clients. Every penny I pay my CPA is worth it. That’s one thing I’ve decided to delegate and hire somebody else to do.
Finally, filter number three is to recognize that the time we have is finite. We all have the same 168 hours a week, and we’re asleep for a bunch of them, right? If we sleep 8 hours a day, we are left with 112 hours. And if we’re working 40 of those or more, that further narrows down the hours. We really don’t have much extra time to invest in the things we want to do. So, we need to choose wisely how we invest that time. Recognize that the clock is ticking. I don’t mean that in a scary, morbid way, but sometimes we need to be a little bit scared just to make better choices. It’s helpful to look at life from that perspective and start thinking about being 5 years older, 10 years older, 20 years older, asking ourselves where we’ll be in our lives at that point. How old will our kids be? How old will our parents be?
It definitely can lead to some different decisions. That’s the hard part—making those decisions on how to spend our time. It becomes clear that trading time for money is the worst possible trade because you can never get time back once it’s gone.
To sum up, trading time for money is the worst possible trade. You probably thought this podcast was going to be about financial trading. The reality is that time trading is far more important in the long run.
So, I recommend applying those three filters to yourself and really doing some thinking about when you hire people to do stuff. Ask yourself if you are retaining some things that you probably shouldn’t. If you’re not good at it and you’re not willing to invest the time to get good at it, maybe somebody else can do it better than you can. And remember to recognize that you’ve got a finite amount of time, 168 hours each week, not all of those waking. Recognize that how I invest my time is going to be how I look at my life. Someday in our twilight years, (and I’ll be there too) in our 70s, 80s, 90s or beyond, we’ll be looking back at our life and thinking about how we invested our time.
Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.” I think what Mark Twain meant is that really, when you look at things from a backward perspective; when you think about yourself 20 years in the future, where would you have wanted to spend that time? What would have thrilled you to be able to look back on and know that you did?
Again, Tony Robbins says, “Don’t let disappointment destroy you. Let it drive you.” Don’t wish things were different. Instead, take massive action today to make better trades when it comes to time and money.
You might be applying these filters to how you’re doing your own financial planning. Maybe you’re somebody who has been doing your own thing. You’ve been self-directing your investments and financial planning, and now you find that you just don’t enjoy it as much or maybe you just don’t have the time. Oftentimes, people start their careers. They’re good savers and investors. They put money away and then along the way realize, “Gosh, I’m really busy now. I’m married with kids and a career and all kinds of stuff going on. I just don’t have the time to pay attention and invest in this anymore.” Investing could be something you enjoy, but you just don’t have time to do it anymore and somebody else could do it better.
At Keystone Financial Services, we want to fill that role. We’re a fiduciary and that means we have a legal obligation to give you advice that’s in your best interest. We want to be there in that role so you can really trust your advisor and know there’s somebody looking out for you, paying attention to what you want and what’s important to you and your family. And we’re pretty good at what we do. From an experience standpoint, we’ve got two Certified Financial Planners on the team adding many, many years of financial experience that can help guide you to where it is that you want to be.
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With that I hope you have a wonderful week and God bless.
This episode has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide and should not be relied upon for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors.