The Value of Time

Most likely your boss pays you an hourly wage or salary per year. You are providing your employer with your time in exchange he/she gives you a nice fat paycheck. You give your boss your time and he gives you money in return. If you think about it, time is the only commodity that anyone has to offer. It is also the only thing that can be used to create something of value. You can give someone a product or service, however I would argue that it is impossible to have them without using some of your time.

Why do some receive more money for their time? Its simple they choose to make their time more valuable. The activities that we chose to fill our time with determine the price per unit of time. Just like with any other commodity value correlates with its usefulness. Gold can be made into jewelry, oil can be used for energy, cows are delicious to eat and so on.

You have to fill your time with useful tasks if you want more compensation for your time. Educating yourself increases your ability to accomplish more in a given period of time. Education also enables you do preform work that very few others can. The more you fill your head with valuable information the more desirable your time becomes. Is there really anyone out there willing to pay a lot of money for someone's time because he has "mad Halo 3 skills." I certainly hope not that would be pretty lame if they did. But you will find that someone who can preform open heart surgery can demand a high price for their time. Those that need some of his precious time will pay that high price.

I guess the message that I am trying to convey is that we are all given a finite amount of time on this earth. We all have the choice and freedom to do as we please with this precious time. If we don't see the value of this limited resource then no one else will either. If you personally don't have any problem wasting your time then it is most likely its not worth much. Making the decision to eliminate the waste in you life and using that time towards value adding activities can be quite rewarding.

ACTION ITEM: If there is anyone out there that actually took the time to read this post then please take the time to leave a comment on something that you or others can change to increase the value of time. Whether it is eliminating a certain wasteful activity or changing to something more productive. I think that this would be a good use of your time.

Official Blog?

Everybody who is anybody always has there "official website" or "official blog" I guess I just want to be officially awesome. It would be sweet if someone actually thought that I was cool enough to make a fake site pretending to be me. Ya that would be sweet. I am not really holding my breath for that one. But you can't argue that "Jake Green's Official Blog" sounds better than just "Jake Green's Blog"

Family Finance Tools

I was recently looking on a investing website and noticed as I was browsing around that there was a family finance section. There was only about 6 articles it was sad to see that that 2 were about prenups and one was about your finances during a divorce. Why do these topics seem to be such a big part of family financial education? I have heard before that money is one of the biggest things that cause marital problems, but I have never really thought that working to secure our finances would be a vital part on me and Sylvia's relationship.

As the head of my household I have felt the need to secure our finances more firmly as we move into 2009. Thankfully my beautiful wife has made this an easy transition she has been clipping coupons, shopping for deals on the things we need, and cooking meals everyday. Looking at the numbers this month we have done a good job of reducing our expenses. I am sure a lot of others are taking similar actions.

I am a system kinda of guy. I like to have everything running like a finely tune watch. I don't mind getting things set up if system is fairly easy to maintain. I had a friend recommend some online tools for personal or family finances that I think are pretty sweet for guys like me. is a personal finance web application that can aggregate banking information from all you accounts (including investments i.e. 401k) and automatically categorize your transactions. Sometimes it will not put everything in the right category but you can change the category, label, and setup "rules" so that your regular transactions always import under the right category. You are able to easily see all of your liabilities and net worth.

One of the cool features allows you to compare your spending to the regional or nation averages in that category. It will also show you a pie chart of your expenses over a given period of time. This makes it really easy to see where you money is going. You can click on each section of the pie and it will create another pie chart of only that category divided into vendors. After a few months a data collecting you are able to see some trends in your spending habits and make the appropriate adjustments for financial freedom.

My friend also recommended signing up for an account with ING Direct which is an online bank. It free and the interest rates are a bit higher than average, but thing that I like about it is you are able to setup automatic withdraws from one of your "brick and morter" banks. This makes it very easy to pay yourself first and save your money automatically. You don't have to think about it every time you get paid. You just sit back and watch your savings grow.

In order to have an ING account you have to have a another bank account with a traditional financial center. I don't really think that this is a disadvantage because your ING account be comes your savings not your checking. What I mean is that it is separate and for some reason if it is not part of the funds that I use day to day then I am not tempted to use it.

Another thing that I like about the ING Saving it that you can setup as many accounts as you want and call them whatever. I made one call "boat". I've got a very small amount going into that account automatically, so someday I will be able to waste my money on something totally impractical.

Clearing My Head

It's hard to think straight when your head is clouded with too many thoughts. I read somewhere that it is a good idea to write down all of the thoughts, concerns, and tasks that are piled up inside your mind. We can not process that many problems at once. For me this feels like some type of neurological traffic jam in my head. Too many thoughts and ideas lead to excessive rubbernecking, which in turn results in very little forward progression. By taking that overgrown list of ideas and to-dos and putting them to paper we are able alleviate the mental congestion. This anxiety generated by an extensive list can be avoided.

I think that Steven R. Covey said something to the effect that humans can really only do one task at a time really well. Some are able to simultaneously do several tasks OK. But in order to achieve true excellence you need to find focus in what you are doing. Clearing your head is one of the first steps you need to complete if you are to find concentration of thought and action.

So how do you solve the dilemma of wanting to do more than one thing at a time. Find maybe the top two or three thing that are on your list and allocate the majority of your time to each one individually. Hopefully with your new found focus it will enable you to move quickly down the list making headway picking off each item one by one.

One of the reason that I started this blog was to clear my head. So I don't think that you will find one unifying theme. You might see trends due to a higher level of interest in one thing over another. However I really want this blog to be my "catch all" or funnel. Do I really expect anyone beside maybe one or two family members and maybe a few friend to read this? No. Honestly this is more a person exercise but the chance that someone might actually read this will force me to put a little more effort in my spewing of thoughts to the written word.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People