The One Luxury Item To Buy First

Many Americans follow a familiar career path. After receiving their undergrad or advanced degree, they enter the workforce and start their life climbing the corporate or career ladder. Corporate workers aspire to management and executive positions, while professionals like lawyers and physicians seek to become partners or move up in their practice. As their income grows, many of them find themselves at a crossroads. What do they do with the extra income now at their disposal?

As income grows, many Americans make this common mistake. Until that big promotion or raise, many Americans typically make ends meet – their income barely covers their expenses. Then, once the big pay bump comes along and they finally have a chance to put a good distance between their income and expenses, many make the same mistake with this extra money.

​​They have one of three choices: 1) do nothing and let the money sit in the bank, 2) put the money to work, or 3) spend it. Most choose #3.

Flush with extra money, many Americans start making big purchases with cash or credit backed by their newfound confidence from the raise or promotion. “I can afford to pay it back,” they tell themselves. This first luxury item can be a big house, a fast car, fancy clothes, expensive golf clubs, a tropical vacation, private school tuition, a country club membership, and so on.

​​The problem with these types of purchases is that the newfound breathing space between income and expenses made possible by the raise suddenly constricts until it collapses as expenses pile up from big purchases and catches up to the new income level. Some Americans may even find themselves running at a deficit as debt piles up and expenses, including interest expenses, outpace income. This is a roadmap for financial disaster, not financial freedom.

We all dream of achieving financial freedom and sticking it to the man. We would all love to say to our bosses, “Take this job and shove it.” However, what we do with that first big pay bump and what we buy with that extra money will determine whether we put ourselves on the road to achieving that financial freedom or end up restricting it. Unfortunately, most choose the latter as they acquire “stuff” and accumulate debt to buy things that only eat away at their cash instead of building it up.

What should be your first big luxury item? Not something that drains your pocketbook. The ONE luxury you should buy back first is — time. Is there anything more luxurious than time? People on their deathbeds don’t wish they had more things; they wish they had more time – time with their families and time doing the things they wanted to do and not what they had to do.

Time is the most luxurious item you can buy back. I say buyback because we all had a lot more time on our hands at one time, but we all traded that time for money at our jobs. These jobs took up our time and kept us from our families and loved ones. When we say we’re buying back our time, what we’re really saying is that we’re taking it back from the jobs we gave up our time to. Buying back time is the basis of my brand, “Investing for Freedom,” which I trademarked.

Investing for Freedom is about buying back your time because you’re never getting back your time unless you take proactive steps to get it back. It’s about making personal and financial investments that will help you achieve the freedom to do what you want and when you want.

​​Here are some ideas for buying back your time. The results may not be immediate, but the little extra time you acquire here and there adds up to give yourself the time to dedicate to investments that will put your money to work for you and not against you.

Ways To Buy Back Your Time:

  • Hire household help to take care of the chores and maintenance around the house.
  • Hire a nanny to help with meals and watch the children.
  • Get a virtual assistant to sit in on meetings to take notes and create a summary of actionable items, respond to emails, etc.
  • Invest in a local assistant to run errands, shop, take your truck in for maintenance, and much more.
  • Use AI to summarize your Zoom meetings and automatically send out transcriptions and reports to all attendees. (
  • Use a delivery service for goods and food.
  • Work on yourself to learn to delegate and let others take over your work tasks, even if it’s not as good as you would do it.
  • Bring on partners that fill your weak areas in business.
  • Buy prepped meals or sign up for meal services like HelloFresh to deliver the fresh ingredients you can cook or let someone cook for you.
  • Build a gym at home so you can save travel time and work out anytime you want.
  • Invest in advisors and mentors to shortcut your knowledge acquisition and efforts – all to avoid pitfalls.
  • Join a mastermind to grow and shorten the learning curve and build your network faster.

Finally, here is a simple tip for not necessarily buying back your time but preserving the precious time you do have.

The One Simple Rule:

Simply learn to say no to vampire friends and family that want to “suck the life” out of you.

All of us dream of achieving financial freedom one day. It’s not gonna come from buying stuff that drains your pocketbook instead of fattening it. It will come from buying back incremental amounts of time through learning to delegate mundane tasks to concentrate on learning about and making investments in assets that generate income to buy back your time in bulk and cut the umbilical cord to your job.



Mike Ayala has owned and operated mobile home parks since 2007, and has been active in construction and management since he was 15 years old. He graduated from the Associated Builders and Contractors 4-year project management program at age 22 and then became a licensed instructor. He is also the host of the Investing for Freedom podcast.