How much is your time worth?

Did you see the Justin Timberlake thriller In Time last year? Probably not. Nobody else did either. Well, I did, I guess. And while the movie wasn't very good, it contained an interesting idea that I think relates to personal finance.

The movie's plot revolves around a world where everyone is genetically engineered to live until they're 25. After that, they have exactly one year left before they die. The amount of time they have left to live is displayed on their forearm and because of how limited of a resource it is, people use time as the method to barter and exchange things with each other. Time becomes a currency. Want a cheeseburger? That's twenty minutes. Bus fare? Two hours. You get the picture.

J.D.'s note: The sci-fi geek in me can't help but point out that this sounds a lot like Logan's Run.

If you can get past some overly-cheesy acting moments from Justin Timberlake, the movie makes an interesting point about the importance of valuing your time. While it's easy to waste five minutes here and there in your day-to-day life without realizing it, in the movie people are acutely aware of just how much time they have left. It's marked on their forearm after all, and they weigh all of their decisions on whether or not the trade-off is literally worth their time.

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