How to Invest Your Time for Maximum Returns

My poor dad said he could not invest because he had no money. My rich dad said, “Invest your time when you have no money.”

Unfortunately, most people have no time to invest. Why? Because they think that working harder and longer will make them richer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Consider these facts:

  • The average U.S. worker clocks in a little more than 1,800 hours per year at work—the highest output in the world
  • 56% of Americans report doing work from home
  • 20% report doing it every day of the week
  • 25% didn’t take any time off last year
  •  43% took less than a week off

Those numbers represent a 400% increase in productivity since 1960—and a lot of tired, time-constrained Americans chasing the almighty dollar.

As the Economic Policy Institute reports, “From 1973 to 2017, net productivity rose 77.0 percent, while the hourly pay of typical workers essentially stagnated—increasing only 12.4 percent over 44 years (after adjusting for inflation). This means that although Americans are working more productively than ever, the fruits of their labors have primarily accrued to those at the top and to corporate profits, especially in recent years.”

Clearly, working more doesn’t mean making more.

Why the Poor Stay Poor

If you ask most people why they’re doing all this work, they’ll tell you it’s for money.

By this, they mean a steady paycheck that provides security. Money is one of the primary reasons people take on thousands of dollars in college loans to get a degree for a high-paying job that they don’t like but which they spend most of their waking hours at — all while the things they really love in life sit on the sidelines waiting for them to finish working.

The problem with this approach is that you only make money as long as you work. The only thing of value that you have to sell is your time. So, in order to make more money, you have to work longer hours, which is physically taxing.

Because you only have a finite amount of time and energy, as an employee, your earning potential is finite.

Why the Rich Get Richer

If you ask most rich people what they work for, they’ll tell you it’s for assets.

By this they mean investments and businesses that provide steady cash flow each month with little-to-no work. Instead of spending their life working for money, the rich work to understand how to make money work for them through financial education.

Adding more assets is much different than working for a paycheck. For instance, adding assets doesn’t require working longer or harder. In fact, the higher your financial IQ, the less you have to work to acquire high-quality assets. These assets then provide passive income, even while you’re sleeping or playing.

In other words, money works for the rich.

Why the Rich Have More Time

When it comes to getting financially educated, I often hear the excuse, “I don’t have enough time.” And based on labor statistics most of the working class doesn’t have time to do much besides work. With full-time careers, a spouse or relationship, even children, plus additional day-to-day activities. The thought of adding another thing, even something as important working towards the freedom that wealth brings, seems overwhelming.

So how, then, do the rich seem to accomplish so much more than the poor in the same 24 hours? It’s not because they don’t have the same time-consuming responsibilities or activities. It’s because they know how to generate time the same way they generate wealth.

We are raised believing if we want more money, we have to work for it. For most Americans, that might mean picking up an extra part-time job, or working overtime at the office. But we are human, and there are only so many hours we can physically work.

We all have the same 24 hours every day. How you use those hours determines not only your financial status, but also your future.

Plan to Get Rich

This is not to say that the rich don’t work. They just work differently.

Each year, Kim and I sit down together and set goals as to how many new assets we want to purchase. It’s important to note, we don’t make goals to make more money. We don’t spend our time looking for a better, higher-paying job. We know that if we focus on finding high-quality assets, the money will come — and for many years, even after the work of acquiring our assets is done.

Kim and I have spent many years building our portfolio slowly and steadily and investing in our financial education. We weren’t always rich, and we didn’t always have the financial IQ’s that we do today. But, like my rich dad, we invested the time to grow our financial IQ through financial education when we had no money to speak of. We didn’t put that time into a job; we invested it in our financial future.

Today, we make millions of dollars a year in passive income—money that works for us instead of the other way around.

How about you? What are you working for? What are you investing your time in? Are you working towards making money work for you through the power of assets? Or do you spend your days toiling away at a job you hate in order to make a paycheck? If so, what’s holding you back from changing things?

Get Time on Your Side by Paying Yourself First

One important difference between my poor dad and rich dad was this: My poor dad said, “Save money for a rainy day.” My rich dad said, “Pay yourself first so you’ll never have a rainy day.”

For decades, I’ve followed the advice of my rich dad instead of my poor dad—especially when it comes to paying myself first.

In order to be rich, you must have the self-discipline to pay yourself first. I addressed this in yesterday’s issue, as well. By this, I simply mean using your income to invest in cash-flowing assets before you pay your bills or buy anything fun. This in turn will create more income that you can use to invest in more, cash-flowing assets. Do that and you’ll have more money than you know what to do with.

Paying yourself first is not easy. In fact, it can be scary, especially when the bills are piling up. But you must develop the self-discipline to do it.

The vast majority of people I talk with who have a hard time getting started with their dreams of starting a business or investing in assets do not have a money problem. Instead, they have a time problem. That is, they spend most of their time on busy tasks, their careers, and doing fun activities. Most people spend little-to-no time on “self-generated creative work.”

Why is this?

It’s not that people don’t have good intentions to do what they are dreaming of. It’s that they always think they’ll have more time than they really do. With money, if you pay everyone else first rather than yourself, you’ll have nothing left to actually invest. The same is true with time.


Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily

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