The relationship between money, work, and free time

My plan is to have the ability to retire before I hit the age of 50. I want the ability to be able to choose how to spend my time, instead of giving my most valuable time to my employer.

A typical lifetime for someone from the age of 23 may look like this:


The categories I am most interested in is the balance between work and free time because once you take away the need to work for income, you can replace work with free time.

In this typical example of a 42 year working career, we spend at least 109,000 hours on work and we have 83,000 hours of free time to choose how we see fit.

This is a ratio of work to free time of 57% work to 43% leisure.

Now, if I can retire at 48 for example, the chart may look a bit more like this:


The ratio of work to free time is now 34% work to 66% leisure. We have reduced our working lifetime by 40%, but more importantly added 53% to our free time.

You can see that work hours have been reduced by 44,200. This means that our free time has been increased by the same amount. 44,200 hours. This is the equivalent of an extra 3,683 x 12 hour days. We need sleep and everyday chores and errands regardless of whether we are working or not. That is why we are left with 12 hours a day to do as we please.

Can you begin to imagine what you would do with all that extra time? That extra 44,000 hours is like gold to me. By making good financial decisions now, in less than a decade I will have the option to leave work and cash in on all that free time.

I can drop off and pick up my daughter from school. I can teach her anything she becomes interested in. I can have a date every day with my wife. I can play tennis. I can do some more volunteering – maybe coaching sports teams or joining the school board. I can go on trips on the drop of a hat. I can help out family with any problems.

All that time is far more valuable to me than upgrading to a better house, car or any other material thing that doesn’t bring me any extra happiness. Those purchases would only add to my hours required to work to pay for all of it. Thereby taking away any potential free hours I could have had.

I don’t want to be an absent father and husband who spends all his waking hours at work and then when I am 65 it may be harder to do things I wanted to do because of poor health. My daughter will also have moved out of home by then. Free time may not be quite as valuable because she is not around to share it with.

I want to get to know my daughter in her formative years. I want to help shape her in to a good human. I can think of nothing worse than looking back at my life to see I was not around for her.

Did you know that of the time we spend with our children in our lifetime, 90% will generally be in their first 18 years!? I don't want to waste those precious years. 

I want to travel the world. I want to volunteer in the community. I want to play more sport. I can’t do all this with my current time.

The only way to do this is to build enough of a cash cushion to leave the full-time workforce and stop working for the man. I want to live my life doing the things I want to do. Call me greedy, but it’s true, and I’m doing my damnedest to make it happen.

Thanks for reading.



The information contained on this site is the opinion of the individual author(s) based on their personal opinions, observation, research, and years of experience. The information offered by this website is general education only and is not meant to be taken as individualised financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, or any other kind of advice. You can read more of my disclaimer here