How a little perspective changes a lot.

by Nick on May 16, 2014

What happens when I spend this last dollar?

Last time I checked in with you I asked what you would do if I gave you $28,745.

I told you the question wasn’t fair or complete. And I suggested that your answer would likely change drastically if you knew the rest of the question.

Today I tell you the second variable in the question, the significance of the number, why I am talking about that here, and why I broke it into two parts.

Here’s the revised question:

What would you do if I gave you $28,745 and when you spend the last dollar you die?

So… still want to add a game room?

My guess is no.

At this point you might be wondering (a) why I have to kill you, and (b) where I came up with that number, $28,745.

The answer to both of those questions is that the average person in America lives approximately 28,745 days according to the National Vital Statistics Report.

That’s right, you have approximately 28,745 days to live, minus how many days you’ve already been here.

After you’ve spent those days you die.

But you knew that, right?

You knew the average person lives 78.7 years, give or take.

But if you’re anything like me, you spend some of those days WAY different than you would spend even one of the $28,745 dollars I give you in the revised question. Obviously that’s because $28,745 doesn’t seem like a lot of dollars for a lifetime, but 28,745 days kind of seems lime a lot, right?  At least 78.7 years might seem like a lot.

But the point remains the same:

Why do you feel more anxiety thinking about it in terms of spending dollars versus time?

Why do you budget dollars more than you budget time?

So many of us rush through days. Waste them. Veg out.

So many of us hide. Pretend. Avoid.

And every time you close your eyes you’re one more day closer to the end.

You felt it in this hypothetical when I said you die when the money’s gone.

You changed your ways.

You sold stuff.

You probably invested wisely.

You wanted to make that money work hard for you.

I can tell you our kitchen remodel would be put… on…. hold… for sure!

And that new steakhouse would see a lot less of me!

What about you?

And what are you doing with your time?

Why do you go to bed dreaming of “some day” you’ll [start a business, apologize, reconnect with a loved one, write that book, travel, have a child, etc.]?

You only have 28,745 “some days” from the start.

Don’t waste any of them saying “some day.”

Make a plan. And take action.

One more thing:

I don’t talk about it a lot here, because this is a site where I talk mostly about money.  But it’s impossible to remove “life plans” from “money plans.”

I help busy folks make plans and take action through group and individual coaching.

So if you want someone to help guide you in designing and implementing a plan, I can help.

Shoot me an e-mail at nick(at)stepawayfromthemall(dot)com for a 30-minute complimentary intro coaching call and to learn about my current group and individual programs and rates.

But even if you’re going at it alone, you have 7 days this week. And 7 more next week. And 7 more after that.

How are you going to make those days count?

How did your answer change?

And how many of you hate me because I did this in two parts…

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Camilla May 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Love this! Not wasting our days saying ‘some day’ is so important. That ‘some day’ may never come if we are not intentional about it. We live as if we are going to live forever and have all the time in the world but we sadly don’t. Awesome post! And a great reminder…

Reply

Nick May 17, 2014 at 6:41 am

Thanks Camilla! Love that your post just asked about how many days we’ve been alive! Great minds…

Reply

Sam @ Frugaling.org May 19, 2014 at 12:14 am

This is probably one of the best ways of looking at time and money. Love your idea here! I think death and the fear of it motivate us to spend in dangerous/unhealthy ways all because we are uncertain how long we’ll have it. Keeping that in perspective, I think there’s opportunity to save and change your spending habits.

Great post.
Sam

Reply

Nick May 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Thanks, Sam! It sure put things in perspective for me. I tend to drift from time to time, so having consistent reminders like this is often helpful to keep me hustling and enjoying my time here. 🙂

Reply

Free To Pursue May 22, 2014 at 9:42 am

Exactly! What a great post. We need to think about how we invest our time to make life fuller and more meaningful every day. It’s our greatest resource and no money in the world can buy more of it (health or medical interventions aside ;). The opportunity to make life better is in every moment and in paying attention to the here and now. Thank you for the reminder to be mindful of how we choose to live our life as opposed to just how we “spend” our time.

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