The air had a strange mix of excitement and exhaustion. A woman and her boyfriend just ahead of us had spent the past two days under a makeshift tent cooking what looked like franks and beans, while a group of four behind us had huddled for the past day and a half, playing guitar and dozing in sleeping bags. I’d taken a friend along, a fellow addict, and we made two nights of it, a pair of urban boy scouts.
And why wouldn’t we? These burgers were world famous and, when the doors flew open, they’d be free. Usually going for $2.49, the memory of their flavor had made scores of people camp out on the sidewalk.
And that’s when it hit me. “Free”? If I ate as many as I could, would it make up for the two days of sitting out here, chatting away with my buddy, singing songs with the tent people? At $300/billable hour at my firm, not even close.
Most people don’t value the number one resource that allows you to earn more money and is perhaps the single key to building wealth: Time. As such, the goal is not just to prosper, but also to do so while you’re still young enough to enjoy it.
You’ll never get wealthy young at most jobs. No matter how much you’re making, and whether you’re waged or salaried, jobs are not made with you in mind. It’s, of course, the employer that benefits in the arrangement, as your income is tied with the time that you work. You may get that promotion, you may get that raise, you may even get that pension, but your compensation is always tied to a finite 24 hours each day.
You’ll never get wealthy young with most investments. Most financial instruments are tied to performance over time. Your success, or lack of it, is dependent on the ebbs and flows of the market. Compounded interest, amortization, futures, bonds, stocks, 401Ks—all things we’re taught are good for our financial health—are all inextricable from Time.
The road to true wealth and the freedom that it brings demands a permanent divorce of Money from Time, and that exists only in one and only one condition: entrepreneurship. When you’ve a system in place to consistently produce and sell, with or without you, you’ve severed any connection between the finite hours of an aging mortal and your stratospheric potential for income. A low-to-no maintenance business can be the wellspring of a lifetime of income that flows whether you’re asleep or awake—
Or waiting in line for a burger.