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Money is time

von Dr. Nikolaus Braun

"Time is money" is the relatively superficial heedless mantra of those perpetually chasing profits. Yet, there's more wisdom in the equation time = money than one might initially perceive.

What is wealth but time frozen?

Wealth is primarily the result of our hard work, sometimes also the labor of generations before us. If you don't own a business that thrives without your direct involvement, you too are continually trading time for money through your work.

The remarkable thing: This frozen time can be thawed out. You can convert money back into time, and you don't have to wait until retirement to do that. I'm not referring to the lottery commercial fantasies: never working again, lounging on the beach daily with a cocktail in hand and on the motor yacht in the afternoon – only to be caught up by boredom, alcohol, or bankruptcy eventually.

Living rich, not dying rich

I have met individuals who have solved this equation in a more sophisticated way. They didn't merely quit working but shifted their focus to new life projects, often temporarily: Paul, who cycled from Munich to Bangkok after three years of study and work. Matthias, who engaged in the Munich start-up scene as sparring partner and consultant after the flotation his company. Peter, who choose his foundation as primary pursuit after selling his business. Michaela, who left her job at 45 temporarily to sail around the world with her family. Andrea, who abandoned her uninspiring IT job at 55 to run an antiquarian bookstore.

For some of these journeys you require substantial fortune, for others merely the courage to follow your dreams. How many people, in their final moments, wish they could die a little richer? Perhaps now is the time to consider how you too can trade money for time.

Sound financial planning and independent fee-based advisers can assist

To prevent the financial aspect of this journey from becoming a risky adventure, it's crucial to establish a solid financial plan with plenty pf buffer. Most importantly, you must not sabotage your project by making stupid mistakes in your capital investment. Hence, you should avoid [seeking out the supposed jackpot investment] ( or attempting to force high returns with a facade of low risk. Experience demonstrates that this only leads to disappointment and frustration.

What you need is a long-term, rational strategy. You don't urgently need to become substantially wealthier. What's vital is preserving your wealth and avoiding becoming poor so you can sustain your life plan in the long term. We are here to help you with that.

Best wishes,

Nikolaus Braun
Forty-Nine Fee-Only Advisors

PS: Please feel free to send any questions, criticism or comments to

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