Is it Smart to Trade Time for Money?


April 21, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Towers Perrin, a large human resource consulting firm, just published survey results revealing that most workers have strong negative emotions towards their work. I belonged to this group until several years ago when I decided to transcend my fear and transform my career from a wage earning software engineer to an entrepreneur.

This alchemy of professions has taught me a great lesson: Trading time for money is dumb thinking.

Most people grudgingly work at a job that they hate and become victims of their self-prophecy that they have to work to make money. The truth is shocking but you can quit that job you hate today and liberate your life to achieve the freedom that always eludes you.

Consider these five powerful reasons to manifest thoughts of freeing the precious time that you have been trading for a not-so-rewarding job.

    • It’s a never-ending cycle: Need for money forces you to work-eat-sleep, an endless loop. It’s the craving for more rather than enough that victimizes your mind. We work hard to make more money to spend more money. It’s a viral disease that spreads fast. Engaging in work that you hate only to buy a bigger house, Mercedes, cruises, jewelry, designer clothes makes you trade more of your time to buy more of same that you do not need. 
  • It’s an earned income: You are not making what you’ve seen on your contract. Uncle Sam takes half of your paycheck before a tangible dime falls in your hand. Why? You are paying the federal, the state and social security taxes out of every dollar earned. Rich people work for themselves to build passive income that grows tax-free. 
  • Your goals are not yours: Individual freedom stems from the thoughts of making a determination about what matters most to you and your family. With freedom, you can work hard on your goals and achieve your dreams. However, when you trade time for money, your boss decides what you should achieve for the paltry raise. Selling your dreams for a meager pay raise is dumb thinking. 
  • It’s risky: It’s astounding to find that most people trade time for money with the fallacy of the myth that their job is safe. With the global economy at play, you’ll see a pink slip someday. No matter how savvy you are, how adroit you are with skills unmatched by your fellow workers, somewhere in the world, someone will bid for the work that you do for less. There is no insurance for your job.
  • Your income relies on you: This fable speaks volumes. You can be a powerful lawyer, doctor or an actor but your income grows linearly with the amount of sweat you trade for it. If you ever get disabled, chances are that your income will be disabled as well. No skill that requires time trading can replace the income to support the life-style that you once lived.

You can move inexorably toward freedom from this folly by starting now if you have the courage to take responsibility for your own future.

    • Develop the habit to experience enough in life. By feeling you have enough food, house, car and clothes, you can repel thoughts of more to break the never-ending cycle that enslaves you to trade time for more money to sustain your life-style.
  • Start investing 20 percent of your income into tax-free investments. For example, if you stash away 20 percent for investing in mutual funds, a Roth IRA, or real estate, you’ll make your money work for you. With the law of compounding interest, someday you’ll break the despair of the job you hate.
  • When you work for yourself, you’ll benefit from all your gains, and you’ll suffer from all of your follies. You become the controller of your destiny rather than being controlled by your miseries. You’ll experience energy and passion that you’ve never felt before.
  • Risk is an abstract term. Nothing is riskier than to allow navigation of your lifeboat by someone who has their own interests at heart. Once you overcome the fear of shaping your own future, you’ll find that your lifeboat needs you at the helm. There is no risk when no one can fire you.
  • The apathy for quitting a job that you hate stems from the comfort that you feel every time you receive a paycheck from your employer. The fact is that, an apathy can be transmuted into an empathy by the cognizance that, you are working for money and with liberation soon in sight, money will work for you.

So what is your move? Are you content working for someone else?

– Shilpan


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