By Charles Morgan III
Time is money. We’ve all heard that before. But it’s not really.
There are lots of ways to attain money. There’s the old-fashioned way. You can inherit it. Being born a white male in the United States is the original affirmative action. Most people aren’t born white or male or in the United States. You can work hard and be smart. You can be thrifty and save your money. You can get lucky. You can steal it. There are all kinds of way to make money.
We often ascribe intelligence to wealthy people. Many times that is an overly generous assumption. You don’t have to be particularly smart to get wealthy. While it can help, it’s not always necessary.
Most people understand that even tremendous wealth cannot buy happiness.
If it’s happiness you’re looking for, you should have been born as Junior, our golden retriever. I swear that dog has been ecstatically happy every single day for 14 years.
Ask the wealthiest person you know—if they could trade all of their wealth to purchase an extra 10 years of healthful life, would they do it? The financially successful people I know would answer in unison. YES!
I think I know some people who might have actually tried it. Good luck with that.
To be truly aware of time, it helps to be good with numbers (it also helps in accruing wealth). I ran track growing up. Time was everything. To run a 4:20 mile, you needed to know what four 65-second quarter miles felt like. To run a 1:52 half mile, you had to be able to run four 28-second 220s. Interval training had as much impact on my life as arithmetic.
When you are young, everything takes forever. Your first car. Your first girlfriend. Graduating from school. Your first house. Your first child. As you age, things tend to pick up speed.
Adages about time can be misleading. “Those hours spent fishing are not deducted from a man’s allotted time” and “A bad day fishing beats a good day at work” are examples. I fish, and I can assure you that I’ve had horrendously stressful days fishing and spectacular days at work.
Don’t believe the old sayings about real estate values increasing over time. “Buy beachfront property—they’re not making any more of it” is an example. First of all, beachfront property where we live has not gone up in value for many years. Also, as it turns out, they are making more of it. The continued rise in sea level in coastal communities will result in DeFuniak Springs being the next beachfront tourist trap.
Money is different. I’m not sure about inherited wealth. But I think that most people who have successfully created wealth think that if they lose it all they can make it back again. At least they feel like they can make it back again. But one thing no one can do is buy time.
Life expectancy has increased over the years. Advanced health care, changes in nutrition, and active lifestyles has made for healthier and longer lives. But not really by too much.
And so we keep plugging along. One foot in front of the other. Working on our breathing. And as Woody Allen said: “98 percent of life is just showing up.”
There’s 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day.
They aren’t going to be making any more of that.