The three scarce resources
In life, there are three scarce resources which need thrifty management to achieve your goals, objectives and dreams. And no, money isn’t one of these scarce resources, at least not directly.
Time, Health and Energy
These are the three resources that are finite in this life. You can only use them once. They are non-renewable. So be careful how you spend them!
The thing about time, health and energy is that you don’t know how much of each of these scarce resources you have left to you. It’s impossible to know how long you’ll live, how healthy you’ll be in your later years and how much energy you’ll have. And all of these factors have a direct effect on how much money you’re going to be able to generate during your lifetime.
Money is time
People often say that time is money, but, in reality, the reverse is true. You trade your time, your health and your energy to generate money that many people then squander unnecessarily on things they don’t really need and often don’t even bring them much enjoyment. Every time you make a spending decision, you’re committing yourself to working more days, months and years in a job that perhaps you don’t even like to get your bank balance back to where it was before or to move forward financially.
Given this, when you spend money on non-essentials, make sure that the enjoyment those things bring you more than offsets that extra time that you’ll have to dedicate grinding away at that day job! When you spend money, you’re really spending your finite resources of time, health, and energy which are in diminishing supply. Just because that paycheck comes in at the end of every month doesn’t mean it’s going to last for ever. Jobs come and go, you get old, sick and tired. And there will be a time when you’ll have to live only on what you haven’t spent and have saved up instead of just spending next month’s paycheck. State pensions are unreliable at best and they’re kicking in at an ever more advanced age – 65, 67 years old or even more by the time you get there.
Thrift is closely linked with work ethic. Some historians tell us that Protestants in Northern Europe in the sixteenth century developed an ethic of hard work as benefitting both yourself and society as a whole. The concept of thrift went hand-in-hand with this. After all, if you’re working hard for your money, it makes no sense to squander it. There have been various counter-arguments as to where and when all this really started, but for our purposes it’s unimportant. The concept is still just as valid, wherever it came from.
The mentality of entitlement is almost the exact opposite of thrift. Entitlement is where we assume we deserve things but without having to work too hard to get them. In reality, just because we went to university or did well at school doesn’t mean we’re entitled to a comfortable way of life with all the luxuries and conveniences of the 21st century. You could even say there’s no such thing as rights if you don’t accept the responsibility to work hard to get them. Of course, I’m talking in the sense of material possessions, not clean affordable drinking water or free education to the age of 18 which I regard as basic human rights.