The Rule of 168

Benjamin Haas |




Every year, in the week leading up to vacation, I think about how I spend my time and how much I look forward to being away from work for a bit. It reminds me of the rule of 168. The rule of 168 isn’t a clever financial rule of thumb to guestimate a rate of return or how much life insurance you should have. Nor is it one of those confusing tax code numbers from the IRS. It is a law of life.  The law is that there are only 168 hours in a week, and you need to use them wisely if you want to truly live your ideal life.

For me, vacation means an extra 50-60 hours to my week to live my ideal life, even if for only a couple days. It’s like a life ‘reset button’ that helps me recalibrate to the things I love; my family, my friends, cooking, reading and relaxing. It helps remind me to make time for these things when I return back to my normal workweek.

I then got to thinking about some of my best client/friend relationships.

There’s the couple that retired a few years back but now probably feels busier than ever with activities, board meetings and volunteering their time. They have more money than they need to live their ideal life, but still spend too much time in meetings discussing their money. They want to get a couple of their 168 hours back, and are looking for us to be that resource for them. Fewer meetings. More free time. Does this sound like you?

Then there’s another couple that is finally considering what life will be like after raising kids. They love to travel but they don’t escape frequently enough because they are still so engrossed in their careers. I wonder how and when they will slow down and start to plan for this next phase of life. How would they identify their 168? Does this sound like you too?

Finally, what about the business owner who runs not one, but two business on top of being involved in the community, working double the usual 40 hours?! What about the young professionals, balancing raising children and soccer practices, music lessons and cheerleading? What’s their ideal 168?

My point is, we all could probably use a lesson in the rule of 168. Think about your week. Add up your hours. Just work and sleep can consume 16 hours of your daily 24 allotment. Add the basics such as eating, commuting, bathing and community activities, and the available time for leisure and ideal activities shrinks even further. Are you living your ideal life? What will it take to get you there? And can you commit yourself to making the necessary changes?

Then, work with a financial planner. Give the time spent focusing on money issues to someone you trust who promises to help align your personal values, vision and wealth, even if that sounds a bit squishy. Build you team of advisors and delegate the things you may not be well suited to do alone anyway. That’s why we are here, to help find efficiencies in your financial lives. So give us a call. I’m guessing you can take back a couple hours to fit more of what you want into your 168.