The Free Times Framework (FTF) for personal finance decisions

One way to define financial freedom is the following: the ability to do absolutely anything one desires with ones time, while simultaneously meeting all financial needs. Sounds nice doesn’t it? The Free Times Framework (FTF) is a way of thinking designed to help get you there faster. At the Free Times we do not believe life is best lived penny pinching at every turn, so we have created the FTF to help you think about which “sacrifices” make sense for you.

Many in the personal finance community suggest thinking about purchases in terms of time, not money. For example, instead of thinking “this scooter costs $1,000”, proponents of this mindset will instead suggest considering how long you would have to work to pay for the scooter. Take someone who makes $200 after tax per day, they would need to work for ($1,000/$200) 5 days to purchase this scooter. This mindset helps people contextualize if a given purchase is “worth it” in more tangible terms. We believe this way of thinking, while helpful, can be improved.

Hypothetical $1,000 Scooter

This mindset teats each and every purchase as if it comes with a punishment, and that’s just no fun. We would rather think of personal finance decisions in terms of “how does this decision help you work towards your goals?” The FTF allows us to quantify how much a given financial decision will accelerate your timeline to financial freedom as we have defined above. It is no surprise that many personal finance aficionados think in terms of the “paying with your time” method: it’s easy. The FTF is indeed a bit more complicated, but rest assured, the Free Times does the legwork for you, so you can make informed choices taking into account what you value most.

Throughout our blog, we consider a number of situations you might find yourself in in life. After considering a number of relevant factors and idiosyncrasies of any given situation, we calculate for you a metric we like to call “Free Time”. We define Free Time as follows: the reduction in time to financial freedom as a result of a financial decision. For example, if you are able to attain financial freedom 60 days earlier as a result of a financial decision, this decision has a Free Time rating of 60 days. Quite literally, you will have 60 more days of free time on the back end of your journey to financial freedom. 60 more days you could spend here.

How do we come up with this metric? Great question, and an important one. We go in detail into the methodology and various assumptions in another post. We are so excited to help share this new way of considering financial choices with you, let’s get started!

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