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Episode 159: Bill versus the $100 Bill

Time is money, but how much is it worth?
Bill versus the $100 Bill - Moneywithmakng - Podcast


This “Money With Mak and G” podcast episode, I explore what an opportunity cost is, why it makes sense to outsource work you’re capable of doing yourself, and how the rich spend their time.

Everyone knows the phrase ‘time is money’ but most people don’t apply this to the way they live their lives.


This episode, I talk about where the phrase ‘time is money’ came from, what opportunity cost is, and how we can spend our time in the most valuable way possible…

“We spend time and can never get it back, it’s valuable and can be used in many ways based on your desires, needs and talents.” Ben Jones

“If time is money are you spending it on the right things knowing how valuable it is?” – Ben Jones

Time Stamps:
01:29 – Where the phrase ‘time is money’ came from.
02:01 – What opportunity cost is and how being lazy costs you money.
03:30 – Is it worth Bill Gates bending over to pick up a $100 bill?
05:10 – Why it makes sense to outsource your taxes even if you’re capable of doing them yourself.
06:16 – How the rich spend their time.
07:00 – Is coupon cutting worth your time?
07:45 – Flipping houses and finding rare art.


Norman Rockwell

Connect with Ben Jones:



What a crazy week.  COVID has been flying around the Jones household as things are heating up across the US and the world. Being out of town, I’ve been able to dodge the virus. But, I feel horrible about not being at home to help. It’s a catch-22 because I have a large business meeting in a couple of days.  I’m really trying to be responsible.  Anyway, I have been monitoring things with the family through text messages. The timing is a also bad since the kids only have two weeks left of school.  

Since the bike accident, I had some bed rest which always gets my mind racing.  Yes, I caught up on some of my binge-worthy shows on Hulu. In between my episodes of Castle, I realized the number of items that I’ve been juggling has been a little extreme.  Are they all necessary and important?  Are the moving me in the right direction?  I’m not a spring chicken anymore, and time feels a bit more precious

That question has been haunting me a bit lately, since in my calculation shows that I’ve probably completed around 80% of my life. Yikes.  So, I’ve been asking myself how I spend my time. If you’ve heard ANY of our podcast, it all comes back to money and numbers.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that “Time is Money”.  With the way my mind works, I’m always curious about where something comes from. So, I did a quick Google search and found that it appears that it was in a newspaper in 1719 called The Free-Thinker

           “In vain did his Wife inculcate to him, That Time is Money …”[2]

In this case the wife is trying to get her husband to understand that time is money. We spend time and we can never get it back.  It’s valuable and can be used in many ways, based on your desires, needs and talents.  It’s funny, because my wife tries to impress upon me the same thing.

Even though the saying has been around since then, our buddy Benjamin Franklin gets the credit.  There you go, whoever markets it the best gets the credit. I think Ben Franklin was a pretty interesting guy and this was in an essay called 

“Advice to a Young Tradesman” which appeared in a book in 1748 called The American Instructor.  He says…

            “Remember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a                day by his labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that                  day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or                        idleness, it ought not to be reckoned the only expense; he hath                really spent or thrown away five shillings besides.”

Ok, that’s a little hard to follow, but if you can earn $10 per day or 10 shillings as he speaks about, and you take off a ½ day, you lose $5, because that time could’ve earned you money. Plus, he also mentions that when you’re just sitting around, you als spend money, in this case 6 pence. It’s funny that he was trying to say being lazy costs you money.

If you’re a kid, your time is worth money, just as much as your parents. It may not be in actual dollars and cents, but there is a cost to spending your time when choosing to do one thing over another. Plus, if you put in some hard work throwing a baseball or football or dancing, singing or something else, you’re investing and spending your time.

Your parents can put a number on it. If they earn $60,000 per year, you can divide it by about 2,000 which is the approximate number of hours in a year, since it’s about 40 hours per week with about 50 weeks. So $60,000 divided by 2,000 equals $30 per hour.  Lawyers are famous for charging hundreds of dollars an hour.  So, their time as a lawyer is worth a lot.

Ok, so here’s a question, should Bill pick up the bill? I’m talking about Bill Gates, who is one of the richest people in the world.  If he was to walk past a $100 bill on the ground, should Bill take the time to bend over and pick it up?  I hope your first reaction is HECK yes, he should pick it up. Money is money.  PICK UP THE BENJAMIN.  See how I tied it back to Benjamin Franklin?  Well, let’s talk about the numbers….

I found someone that’s actually calculated how much Bill Gates makes, and if the calculation is correct, Mr. Bill makes about one thousand, 300 dollars per second.  Yep, I didn’t stutter.  I said, “per Second”.  Just by repeating myself, that was another second and ½, and he would have earned $1,950.  Ok, so I did a little experiment. I dropped a $2 bill on the ground and bent over to pick it up.  I’m a little sore, but I found out it took about 2 seconds.  For Bill, that means $2,600.  Does that change your mind about whether he should pick up the $100?  Based on the calculation, his time to bend over is not worth the effort.

Ok, so maybe it sounds silly to ignore $100, but it’s something to think about.  It starts to touch on an idea called “opportunity costs”.  If you choose to stay at home and not work, there is a cost for not taking the opportunity to work.  This has been one of the biggest dilemmas out there.  Should mom, or dad stay home with the kids.  I have to admit that I’ve been extra stingy when I was younger and refused to spend money on almost anything, and the wife and I did have a long talk about that one. SHE WON! 

But, there are other things.  I HAD to do my taxes.  Of course, I have to do them, because I’m a CPA.  So, I’d buy a software program for $50, spend 6 hours doing them, and feel great that I didn’t pay someone else to do it.  At that time, I was earning $25 per hour, and my taxes would’ve cost $100.  But, my cost would’ve been the $50 for the software plus 6 hours of work I could’ve done at my company and earned another $150.  So in total, I spent $200 when I could’ve paid someone else to do it for $100. 

I feel like over the years, I’ve had to lighten up.  Honestly, I had too many things on my plate, but started to value my time for more than what I was being paid.  There are definitely times that you don’t have the money to pay someone to lay down mulch in your yard.  Many who start their lives are scrapping together pennies, and it’s a luxury to have someone else do.  So, you just DON’T do it.  But once your time is spent and you can’t replenish it like money.

I saw a theory that the rich in the past were those who had the time to enjoy life, spend the summer at the lake, because they had more time.  But, things have changed and the rich then became those people who worked too much.  While it seems that Gen Z and millenials want experiences and a fullfillment in life, as compared to just having more money.  Question, if time is money are your spending it on the right things, knowing how valuable it is.

We can apply it to cost savings ideas as well, and we need to keep things in a bit of balance.  I’m sure you may have seen some coupon cutting extraordinaire who was featured on a variety show or the news who does it to an extreme. It definitely looks great getting hundreds of dollars of groceries for just pennies on the dollar. It sounds like magic. It’s impressive, and you might even be a bit jealous you’re over hear paying real money.  Don’t ever discount the coupon, but beware when it takes 10’s of hours to save $50.

So, remember this trade-off between one opportunity and another, as it’s a really big concept in MicroEconomics which may be a really fun thing to explore in another podcast.

When thinking about just “finding” money on the ground, it makes remember stories about people finding really interesting things in some of the most unlikely places, so I did a little research.  I found this story about a guy he buys houses, fixes them and then sells them for a profit, called flipping. He bought a really beaten up house. Bad paint, bad yard, roof terrible, gutters in a shamble and some kind of green slime growing on the exterior.

However, in the house they found two dozen original works of art signed by Inuit artists from Nunavut, Canada and included works from a famous artist Kenojuak Ashevak who has sold paintings for over $200k.  Now that’s a $100 bill you’d like to find, huh?

If you haven’t ever heard of Norman Rockwell, you might want to take a look online of some of his paintings. He was very prolific, which means he did a lot of paintings. He had the ability to paint in a way that looked real, but with exaggerations, almost like a touch of what’s called caricature.  Rosie the Rivoter has always been a personal favorite. 

Anyway, the two sons of a man named Don Trachte found a Norman Rockwell original hidden in the ceiling after their dad died. Only problem was that their dad supposedly donated the painting to the Norman Rockwell museum.  In reality, the father who was an artist created a copy, and kept the original, because he was going through a divorce and Mr. Trachte didn’t want to sell the painting and didn’t want to give it up.  So, he hid the original in a false wall. It looked like a wall, but it was hollow.  He bought it in 1960 for $900.  When it was found, it sold at auction for over $15 million which was a record at the time.  Wow, that’s pretty amazing.

Well, thanks for being here.  We’ll see you next week for more Money with Mak & G. Bye!

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