Spend time, not money

Even for someone who works in a bank, I spend a lot of time talking to people about money and careers. Kāhu is getting ready for his first birthday in a few days, and Huhana is in her last year before starting school, so I’ve also been thinking a lot about where I spend my time.

When it comes to loved ones, spending money isn’t the same as spending time.


That sentence is kind of a no-brainer, right? You can’t get time back, when it’s gone it’s gone. Money was created to be earned, spent, and swapped – even when you’ve used it, it never really disappears. So, one is infinitely more precious than the other.

But for most of us adults, and especially as parents, its easy to spend our time chasing more financial security, working longer hours or taking on more stressful jobs because we want our children to have the things we never had,or to leave them with a safety net mesh made from money. That work is often at the expense of time with those very same loved ones.

To be super clear, I’m not talking about working longer to stop struggling or to get out of a hard spot. I’m talking about sacrificing time, to stretch further over the gap between comfortable and more comfortable, and society’s never-ending quest to do it again, usually at the expense of even more time that could be spent with those loved ones we’re trying to set up. If your mission is to provide the best life you can for someone, think about what that means. How much better will their life actually be with those extra dollars or nicer car. And is it even for them? How much better might their life be with some extra hours each day from you? How much better would yours be? I’ve been to a lot of tangi recently with friends saying farewell to their parents. None of them wished they’d had bigger houses growing up. All of them wished they’d had more time with mum or dad.

If you’re working long hours because you believe that’s what it takes to provide for your whanau, don’t forget there’s a balance to be struck between providing security and giving them your time. Memories are made of moments, not money.

Spend the stuff that makes a difference.

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