Tag Archives: discretionary time

If true wealth is discretionary time, how rich are we?

Sarah McCaffrey, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

After reading Million Dollar Consulting by Alan Weiss, I considered a point he reiterated several times as it applies to the TMMBA. In his book, Weiss identifies his true measure of wealth: discretionary time. The idea is that wealth should not be measured by a bank account balance, a stockpile of resources, or the difference between monthly income and monthly expenses. Weiss asserts that the only way to measure our personal wealth is by measuring the amount of time with which we can do whatever we like.

MDCImage courtesy Amazon.com

Executives making seven figures, who work eighteen hours a day? Not wealthy. Small business owners who set their own hours and do what they love? Filthy rich. Parents who want music lessons and summer camp for their kids? That depends. If we must budget so closely to reach our goals that we sometimes require an injection of overtime pay, extra cash from babysitting or listing items on Craigslist, we may be doing just fine, but we are not rolling in discretionary time.

Assume that Alan Weiss has it right and this is the way we should measure our success: what does that mean for the TMMBA? Now that Class 13 has adjusted to the rigors of the program, how might we apply this concept to our new reality?

Working toward the TMMBA is a major investment. Not just of our finances, but of our wealth… our time.

As we invest our time in the TMMBA, what type of return on investment will we see? Remember, we’re still thinking in terms of wealth as discretionary time. For the hours that we put into the program, what kind of hours will we get back?

With Immersion Week and half of our first quarter under our belts, I can already see some of the time coming our way. As we continue in Financial Reporting and Analysis, I see a future in which I do not have to chase down an accountant, or plug an income statement line by line into a search engine to make sure that I understand what it’s telling me. I look forward to seeing how much time I save in future workplace conversations as our classes in professional communications, negotiations, and ethics prompt me to communicate exactly what I think, as opposed to hacking away at my point as I struggle to carve closer and closer to what it is I really mean but can’t quite get across. Finally, the knowledge we are accruing, every lesson we take home, will result in days when we have the answer to a problem, days without hesitation or desperation.

I see the TMMBA paying dividends.