“A Man is Rich, Only in Proportion to the Number of Things he can afford to let alone”
– Henry David Thoreau
This quote is one of my favorites, because it is incredibly insightful about an important reality of life. One of the primary benefits of worldly riches is that money can buy you more time – it allows you to multiply the number of things you can “Afford to let alone”, and pay someone else to do for you. After all, time is the ultimate commodity, the one thing we can all use much more of.
One of the ways in which money can help you to live a great life, is that it can enable you to spend your time on the things that are really important, and so that you do not have to waste time on things that are not important. In reality, there are three and only three facts that really matter to the quality of your life here on earth:
- There are only 168 hours in every week. No matter your age, how much money you make, or how smart you are, there are no exceptions to this fact. Your quality of life is a direct function of how you choose to spend that time.
- Some things can be delegated, but many of the most important things cannot. You can’t pay someone else to spend time with your family for you, take a vacation with you, or play golf for you.
- The key to a high quality life is to focus on the truly important things that cannot be delegated, and hire someone else to take care of all of the things that can be delegated.
In other words, it is smart to pay someone else to mow your lawn, launder your shirts, change your oil, or manage your money, so that you can do all the things that you can’t pay someone else to do, like exercise, spend time with your family, take vacations, play golf, volunteer for a charitable cause, or read a great book.
When it comes to planning and managing your money, I encourage you to delegate the details of your wealth plan to a great financial advisor who you really trust. After all, the competent management of your wealth is a time consuming task, but is it truly an activity that reflects what is most important to you? Author Wayne Dyer is famous for writing about his work with people with terminal illnesses. Perhaps his most quotable remark has been that none of those people, confronted with their final days, said they wished they’d spent more time at the office. It’s hard to imagine that they would have said they wished they’d spent more time watching their stock portfolios or meeting with their stockbroker either.