We all know about the trade-offs between time and money. It’s usually about people spending much of their time trying to make enough money, so that they will be able to have whatever they want, and be able to do whatever they like.

But there are other combinations of time and money in sufficient or insufficient quantity that can also cause problems. We mentioned not enough time due to the feeling of not having enough money, but there is also too much money AND too much time, which creates its own set of problems, and those are not the kind that will have anyone feeling sorry for you.

There are also plenty of cases of people who have lots of time available, but not enough money. The simple solution, and please recall that “simple” and “easy” are two very different things, is for these people to get a job, thereby filling up some of their time with productive work, AND increasing the money they have available for necessities and discretionary purchases.

If only it were that easy. It is easy to sit in judgment of others, but it is not helpful. For every apparent lazy person on welfare, there are several others who have suffered through life with so many things working against them that the privileged few would never understand.

Speaking as a member of those privileged few, I can tell you that my outlook changed quickly when I began volunteering at a food bank a few years ago. I wouldn’t want to trade places with them, and I certainly no longer look down upon them, since I have not walked the proverbial mile in their shoes.

But the title of this blog is “enough money, but not enough time”, so let’s go there now. These situations usually come under the heading of “how much is enough?” There are lots of people who appear to have plenty of money (to us, but obviously not to themselves) but who are always so busy, they never seem to have any time to do anything besides work.

Some of them realize it and make changes in time, others only do so once the stress has taken a huge toll, and their health or family relationships have suffered great harm.

In the same way that these people might look at the person picking up a food basket and wonder why the person doesn’t just get a job, that person on welfare might look at the person working an 80-hour week and wonder why they don’t slow down before it kills them.

Not everyone’s ideal work-life balance is the same, of course, but most people would do well to stop and think about it more often.  When looking at business families there are all kinds of scenarios that come up in the areas of time and money, from the founder/father who won’t let go, to two siblings earning the same pay but with hugely different workloads and responsibilities, to the kid who feels compelled to take over a business in which they have no real interest, but sees it as an obligation or the path of least resistance.

This time of year is often used for reflection, as one year ends and another one begins. Thinking about important core issues like your work-life balance, and talking about them with the important people in your life, are probably the best gift you can give yourself.

And then if you are lucky enough to have a sufficient amount of money, and still have some time on your hands, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities available, and some of them will help change your perspectives on life too.

Steve Legler “gets” business families.
He understands the issues that families face, as well as how each family member sees things from their own viewpoint.
He specializes in helping business families navigate the difficult areas where the family and the business overlap, by listening to each person’s concerns and ideas.  He then helps the family work together to bridge gaps by building common goals, based on their shared values and vision.
His background in family business, his experience running his own family office, along with his education and training in coaching, facilitation, and mediation, make him uniquely suited to the role of advising business families and families of wealth.
He is the author of Shift your Family Business (2014), he received his MBA from the Richard  Ivey School of Business (UWO, 1991), is a CFA Charterholder (CFA Institute, 2002), a Family Enterprise Advisor (IFEA 2014), and has received the ACFBA and CFWA accreditations (Family Firm Institute 2014-2015).
He prides himself on his ability to help families create the harmony they need to support the legacy they want. To learn how, start by signing up for his monthly newsletter and weekly blogs here.