The Time Value of Fun

There is a concept commonly referred to in finance as the “Time Value of Money”: Money available at the present time is worth more than the same amount in the future due to its potential earning capacity. The core principle of finance holds that, provided money can earn interest, any amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received.

I think there should be a similar concept for having fun. “The Time Value of Fun”: Fun enjoyed at the present time is worth more than the same amount of fun in the future.

Why? Is it that fun can earn me more fun later? If I have fun now, will that subtract from the fun I can have later?

I think it’s more a matter of fun sustaining me now, so that I can continue to have fun later.

There is a mindset currently that we work until retirement so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor then, having fun at that time through travelling or other hobbies. Why do we have to delay our fun so far away? What if we were to incorporate some of that fun to be experienced later, into what we are doing today?

I think a lot of people try to do this, whether it be through taking vacations from work to travel, or spending weekends on hobbies. The common obstacle for a lot of people is finding the time to have fun, since we have a lot of obligations elsewhere which may not be as fun.

Time waits for nobody. Eventually, time marches on to a point where we will have less and less available time to have fun. There is another concept of fun, maybe we could call it “The Timing Value of Fun”: for the same experience, my value of the fun-ness of that experience varies depending on other factors at that time, such as personal health, others’ health, and surrounding circumstances. If I am being distracted by other ongoing events in my life, or if my health prevents me from enjoying it, a previously conceived fun event may not be as valuable to me.

The longer we wait to have fun, the shorter the time window we have to partake. In that smaller timeframe, the specific timing of events we can value as fun will also become smaller. If I delay fun as I work until I retire at 70, I maybe have 10-20 years left to have fun. In that time-frame, there may be small windows where I can have fun with the people I want to have fun with: maybe 3 days of the week I am in medical checkups, some other days are when kids or people’s kids are in school, maybe certain areas I wanted to travel to are locked down, maybe the weather will be too harsh for me in my old age. There can be a lot of obstacles to having fun later on than we cannot conceive of today, where we may be limited to thinking of our current health and surroundings.

Let’s have more fun now. This fun can lead to more fun in the future. But really, it’s more about enjoying what we are doing now while we can. The fun I have today will help sustain me to have more fun in the future. If I sacrifice what I am now just so I might have fun later, I think that I will not / cannot last long. But most importantly, there is no reason to. Why can’t I have fun now, and also later?

Fun is not a single object, to be experienced now or later. It is an accumulation of experiences that a certain person values, for whatever reasons they may have. There are certain fun experiences which take a lot of preparation to reach. Fun from travelling to exotic foreign lands requires money, which we have to earn over time. In a sense, we must delay certain gratifications. But in that delay, there are other experiences of fun we can have while we are preparing for more fun later. Those are what we should take more advantage of, so that we do not burn out while preparing for that long vacation or big purchase later. We can have fun now, while we prepare and plan for more fun later.

Let’s have more fun the sooner we can, since we may not be able to enjoy that fun later on.

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