What Do Millennials Value More – Time or Money?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “time is money,” and many times it is followed with, “and money is time,” meaning you can use your time to make money. However, many don’t consider the fact you can’t use money to purchase more time.

Imagine every time you glanced at your bank account you were glancing at time rather than money, because technically, each day 24 hours is withdrawn from our bank accounts. Rather than assessing how much money you should be putting away, spending or investing, what value would you place on your time, and would you translate this into your work?

In the workforce, many aspire to receive pay-bumps throughout their careers. Rarely does someone work harder and longer to gain more time-off. In fact, when applying for different jobs, most employers ask how much money you were making at your previous job, rarely do they ask how much vacation time you earned. We are motivated through financial gains: something we can tangibly see in our bank accounts. However, as millennials begin to take the cake as the largest portion of the workforce, workers’ values are changing in result.

Millenials are reinventing what’s to be expected in the workforce. As a generation perceived to live out of their parents basements, can’t afford a home, are drowning in student debt, and have a poor work ethic, the majority of millennials would rather receive more time off than a pay bump. Millennials value purpose, flexibility and inspiration. This can be seen in the chart by Ester Bloom in the article, “Here’s What Millennials are Prioritizing Instead of Retirement.”

Merrill Edge.pngYoung adults are seeking to live their desired lifestyle, rather than save for traditional things like owning a home, raising a family and retirement. Their values have changed from previous generations, and it this translates to show why they prefer to receive more time off from work than a pay raise. Why could this be?

More time equals more happiness. More than 4,000 people were surveyed about which they’d prefer, time or money, in the New York Times Article, “Why Time Off Work is Better Than a Pay Bump.” They discovered that the people who chose more time were “statistically happier and more satisfied with life” than the other group who chose money. Not only were they happier, they were also healthier.

Americans deal with large amounts of stress in the workplace which may lead to potential health risks. With more time off, Americans may be able to get more exercise during the day, get more sleep, enjoy more time with close companions, be in nature or spend more time cooking nutritious meals.

Of course people will say, “if you really want to do something, you will make the time for it.” However, each day has only 24 hours – nobody has any more or any less than anyone else. If you look at an accomplished person, you can pretty much assume they spent a considerable amount of time mastering the skill. Without time, their accomplishments would just be dreams and ambitions. Yes, if you really want to do something you will make the time for it. Consequently, more time off will motivate you to master those skills without the backlash of stress and the sacrifice of your happiness.

People also often say, “I don’t have the time to…,” fill in the blank, exercise, learn a language, write a book, or whatever the case may be, we’ve all heard it. However, with more time off, you will may be able to achieve these goals, and with a pay bump you won’t.

Additionally, up to a certain point, income doesn’t always lead to more happiness.

A 2010 Princeton study by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, found that at the national level, making more than $75,000 per year won’t significantly improve your day-to-day happiness. Assuming all basic needs are already met, how much more money do you really need? Of course a pay bump would allow you to save more, go out to eat occasionally and maybe even pay for that personal trainer you’ve been wanting, but more time opens up the opportunity for experiences, making time invaluable.

The next scenario where you find yourself negotiating a pay raise with your boss, it may be beneficial to consider what would lead you to more happiness. The dollar compels us. It allows you to be able to afford a new Apple watch or put away money for when you’re 70, but time may allow you to live your desired lifestyle, and with that, feel in control of your life. Remember, you can’t use money to purchase more time.

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