Two Teeth: Your Money or Your Life

My son Mateo had two baby teeth extracted. They both refused to go quietly into the night and so we had to put them out of their misery to make room for new and improved big boy teeth. That evening, the tooth fairy broke into our house and deposited $20 under his pillow and stole his teeth. Winged bastard.

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For some odd reason, my son was not disturbed by the theft of his teeth. He was distracted by the possibilities now afforded to him given his new economic status.

This reframing of his situation – from stolen teeth to consumer possibilities – reminded me of a book I read several years ago, Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.

The thesis of this book is simple, but profound.

The average life expectancy of a citizen of the United States of America is 78.69 years.

The number of mean solar days in a year is 365.25. A solar day is 24 hours long. 78.69 x 365.25 x 24 = 689,796.54. Check my math.

In other words, most of us have about 690k hours to use up over a lifetime.

Let’s take out 18 years from the front end and 13 years from the back end. From 18 years of age to 65 years of age, we have 412,002 hours of viable adult life. Let’s also take out 8 hours per 24 hours for sleep. That leaves us with 274,630 hours of waking time available.

What is 1 hour of your life worth to me?

Mateo decided that two teeth equaled a Nerf gun. He has no sense of the value of teeth. He’s like a 7-year old child.

I love Nerf guns – who doesn’t? But, I decided to buy a smart watch for $285.00 not too long ago. I love anything that is smarter than me. Minimum wage in the state of California is $11.00 per hour. I would have to work approximately 26 hours to pay for that watch.

Would I trade 26 hours of my life for a watch? It really is a sobering thought. Perhaps too sober; almost overwhelming. I am not sure if that is a healthy way to look at the change in my pocket or not, but it is a fact nonetheless.