How Much Is Your Time Really Worth? Time vs Money Dilemma

On every professional and social healthcare network similar questions are being asked.  What is the salary range for your job?  How is salary determined?  What factors influence salary and compensation packages?  The internet community boards are asking the same questions. What are your hours, call pay, callbacks, salary, working conditions, and “other duties assigned” beyond your professional occupation?  It is difficult to isolate something as elusive as the healthcare workers time/pay.  What is the value of your time?

Generic Salary Surveys are everywhere but do they really give you an accurate picture of compensation for what you do and where you are doing it?  Can these surveys tell you want you really want to know, and that is how much your time is worth?

We live in a culture where people want to buy the latest phone model, big-screen TV, and smart technology to automate our homes.  Those are all things that make us happy, but do they save us time?  We think we save time by recruiting others to assist.  There has never been a better time in history to outsource your errands.  There is food delivery, online grocery shopping, Amazon Prime and Uber will do the driving and the delivery.  Laundry and dry cleaning can be collected at your home, cleaned and returned. There are services to turn on the lights when you are gone from your home, walk and play with your dogs and keep them company, mow and maintain your lawn, and change out the fire alarm batteries.  We are living in the time of “instant gratification.  We want it now and “our way”.

Is Dolly Parton’s cardinal line “Working nine to five” a lie in today’s workforce?  Certainly, we all have less time, otherwise these individual services would not be successful.  Sure, time is money and time is often worth saving. But is it always worth it to pay to save time or money? After calculation of your time’s worth, you may find that it is not worthwhile to drive an extra 15 minutes to save $1 on gas. Or you may quantify the question of should you buy the nonstop flight and save 2 hours or get the flight with the stopover and save $70.

At some level we all have this internal idea of what our time is worth. The question is how much value do you place on your time, what is it worth to you? That value is based on factors that are important to us or what motivates us.  That can be a very complicated relationship. Not all uses of time are equal. You may want more wealth, more friendship, more freedom, or more impact on the world.  Or, you may want all of these things plus some others such as good health.  But you cannot have it all at the same time. Understanding how to decide on the trade-offs helps manage the trade-offs every day.

So, the million-dollar question you’re asking now, how do I figure the value of my time? There are different methods. The easiest one uses realized income or the income you have received for the work you do.  You calculate the amount of time you spent earning the monies and the amount of monies you earned during that time.  All time should be considered when figured in this number of hours not just the amount of time spent at the actual workplace. You can count hours worked and commuting time but subtract holiday and vacation time. A good estimate is to use 2,500 hours for a year (2,080 hours = 40 hour/week x 52 weeks). Most experts recommend using your take-home pay after taxes have been deducted.  If you have an employer benefit package such as employer paid health insurance, vacation/sick or paid time off allocation, and the retirement benefit paid by the employer it should be added to the take home pay.  Putting a dollar figure on these additional perks are to your benefit because this is untaxed income.

Finally, divide the total money earned by the total time spent.  The 2014 median income for women in the U.S. was 46,226 so assuming 2500 hours worked, your time is worth $18.49/hr.  The 2014 median income for men in the U.S. was $62,455, making your time worth $24.98/hr.  If you make $100,000/year, your time is worth $40/hr.

Now you can decide if those paid errand services are really worth the time they save you.


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