The 12 Hour Workweek

by Ryan

The 40 hour workweek. That’s what we’re all used to. The 9-5 standard, punch your clock, Monday through Friday and do what everyone else does. But how many of those hours do you really need to be working?

I work 40+ hours in a week, not because I have to, but because the majority of my money is going towards investing and paying off debt to become financially free. To me the prospect of being stuck working an un-fulfilling 40 hour workweek for the next 40 years is like being exiled to hell (okay, a bit extreme, but sucky either way). This isn’t because I’m lazy and don’t like working, but because it would mean I would’ve spent 83,200 hours doing something I didn’t really want to. What’s the alternative?

Working Less, Living More

That title sounded pretty corny, but it’s true. I discussed my expenses when I started this blog which are about $1000 a month, so how many hours a week do I actually need to work to stay afloat?

Drum Roll Please…

12 hours or approximately 7% of my week.

The other 156 hours (or 93% of my life) I can do whatever I’d like which might be working on my surfing skills (which are horrible), playing the keyboard, or perhaps starting a side business.

Your number may be higher, but it may also mean that you’re spending on too much stuff that you don’t really need. How many hours a week do you spend working to pay off that car, or that extra 1,000 square feet on your house?

Think Outside the 40 Hour a Week Box

I know many of the jobs we take require 40 hours a week, but consider each day you’re at work as paying for something. Mondays could be your financial freedom fund, Tuesdays your housing expenses, and perhaps Wednesdays your fun money.

My point is… just because you work 40 hours a week and make a salary based off that much work, doesn’t mean you have to spend that much money and continue to be dependent on a job that requires… you guessed it… 40 hours a week of work.

If I can do this you can too

I work as a server which requires no college education and no advanced skills (so be careful who you take advice from as well 😉 ). But seriously, if I require less than a 40 hour workweek living on an entry level job to survive, what’s you excuse for having debt and a professional job?

Think about how much time you spend in a week working, and then ask yourself… how much time do you actually need to spend there?

How many hours do you actually need to work in a week?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial Samurai May 21, 2010 at 6:18 am

Ryan, is your 12 hours before our after taxes? 🙂

Happy Friday!
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Emergency Fund Fallacy =-.

kt May 21, 2010 at 7:48 am

i prefer the 40+ hour work week but i am not a 9-5 guy. i am a night owl and i would rather work when everybody else is asleep. The problem is that there are very few jobs that fulfil this criteria and i hope to God that he gives me an occupation like that
.-= kt´s last blog a university education really that important?? =-.

Darren May 21, 2010 at 8:15 am

That’s a great way to think about your income. You trade your life for money, and you pay for your stuff with your hours at work.

As far as monthly expenses are concerned, I probably only need to work about 25 hours a week. The rest of my money goes to investments for financial independence!
.-= Darren´s last blog ..What’s More Important – Your Money Or Your Life? =-.

LenciB: Falling Into favor May 21, 2010 at 8:24 am

Well I don’t “work work”. When I do work, as an actress…I put in maybe 16 hour days. But just for fun really 🙂

You make a great point:::::: “But seriously, if I require less than a 40 hour workweek living on an entry level job to survive, what’s you excuse for having debt and a professional job?” Thats why I love reading your blog!
.-= LenciB: Falling Into favor´s last blog ..Memory Books & Fun =-.

Conrad May 21, 2010 at 8:57 am

Thanks for the post!

It’s nice to see other people out there that believe you don’t need to slave away for 40 plus hours a week to make a living. Life’s too short to spend it in an office!

By the way, this post made my top 5 for the week! Congrats to a fellow Yakezie Member!
.-= Conrad´s last blog ..Congratulations! =-.

Money Reasons May 21, 2010 at 11:00 am

For me about 30 hours at my current job (but it really depends how much you make at your job).

But I’m the orange to your apple, I say this because I’m really a family of four and the primary breadwinner. If I were single a little less than 10 hours a week… I say less than 10 hours because I don’t need as much as we currently have.
.-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..Goldman Sachs Is Being Used as a Whipping Boy =-.

Moon Hussain May 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I wouldn’t mind a 20 hour work week. I guess if you find a job that you love, then it’s not suppose to feel like work. They say that, haha.
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Fun Friday Round-Up: OMG I’m Less Than 3 Weeks From My Move! =-.

Noah Rainey May 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I’m currently a student in high school, and by the sounds of it, I probably won’t enjoy am job fro 9-5. This is actually partly why I created my website. So when I’m done with High School I can, if I’m lucky, be making enough money to live off of it. Great stuff Ryan!
.-= Noah Rainey´s last blog ..5 High Paying Commsion Affiliates =-.

Scott Barron May 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I’ve been struggling with this for weeks. I still can’t figure out how many hours I work. Mostly because I can’t decide what is truly work?

I’m getting to the point that I should start considering the stuff that makes money work. Not the research that leads up to it.

Now that I have a company I need to start paying myself a salary for hours worked. Haven’t figured that one out yet. If I take a salary I’ll bankrupt the company…
.-= Scott Barron´s last blog ..How Safe Are You? =-.

Roman Soluk May 21, 2010 at 8:17 pm

It’s really great! Thanks for this, Ryan! I was also thinking about such a working plan. It’s nice when we have a possibility to work less in order to live more.
.-= Roman Soluk´s last blog ..How to avoid depression when being unemployed =-.

Len Penzo May 22, 2010 at 7:47 am

My excuse is I got married and had kids. LOL 🙂

All the best,

Len Penzo dot Com
.-= Len Penzo´s last blog ..Why Your Expensive Luxury Car Doesn’t Impress Smart People. (Or Me.) =-.

Little House May 23, 2010 at 7:34 am

Oh to be young again! 😉 I remember when I was in my early 20’s, living with room mates my expenses were pretty low. I had a lot more freedom than I do now, and zero debt! Too bad I wasn’t serious about investing and saving back then. However, I do enjoy what I do, so I don’t feel trapped in my 30 hours of teaching and my 15 -20 hours of helping my husband or blogging. Perhaps if I lived in Hawaii, I’d be looking for ways to reduce my work week too!
.-= Little House´s last blog ..The Spender’s Guide to Becoming a Millionaire, book review =-.

Mike May 24, 2010 at 12:03 am

Ryan, you are lucky. It seems you have almost achieved your financial freedom. Generally, I agree that most people live a life they simply cannot afford. Big petrol guzzling cars, big houses, fancy clothes, you named it. Obviously, dynamics, needs, and demands change with your lifestyle, i.e. getting married and having children (which is my excuse, too). Believe me, that changes plans and goals in an instant without much warning.
But there is the fundamental question: How much is enough? Do you $1 Million or $10 Million or more? How protected are your assets or your future income? One $1 Million worth of shares, might be worth $50,000 or $2Million in future (so diversify).

You find a multi billionaires putting in 14 hours a day to run their companies (especially after this recent economic crisis) and other interests, were one would think why are they not just taking it easy and enjoy their life?

The answer is quite simple- there is more to life then money and wealth. I happen to know and work for someone like that and they work just as hard or harder (though not in a cubicle in a big office), which surprised me to say the least.

Sure, reliance on a 9 to 5 job sucks, but frankly not everyone can do what we are doing- otherwise it would not enable us to enough our lifestyle.

Frankly, although I am almost there, yet I find myself still working 12 hours a day, because being your own boss, means a lot more responsibility and there is no guarantee your paycheck will be the same every month and will increase or be paid forever.

I think the only difference is that I have flexibility, which allows me to manage my time the way I want to get the maximum return (financially and socially)!!!!


.-= Mike´s last blog ..Google Adsense Basics =-.

Aury (Thunderdrake) May 27, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I’m odd in comparison to a lot of people. I don’t think in work hours like most do. Yet somehow I’ve been drawn into the box of working 8 hours a day, which I normally do here in my lab. But at the same time, there’s no punishment for really sitting out and doing it. It’s a really liberating feeling, you know?

You’ve come quite a long way to be able to drop your hours like that! I can only imagine how well you’re doing with investing! XD
.-= Aury (Thunderdrake)´s last blog ..Hoarding Dragon Basics – The Stock Market =-.

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