When it comes to zero reward living for a short period of time, most people just can not imagine that working an unskilled gig economy job means much to them.  “Why would I want to work for $15 an hour driving morons around?

There’s a reason why you’d want to, and why you should: because it’s not a forever investment of your time, and the time you spend in lieu of zero reward living style work is time you are burning your future away.  The younger you start, the better the results are, and the more energy and mental focus you have in doing it.  Plus, you condition your mind to be productive and not unproductive.

Here’s some numbers to make it a bit more clear.

What just one hour of consumerism costs you

Assuming you can take unproductive consumption time and convert it into productive time using a gig economy app (or just doing odd jobs for neighbors if you’re under 18) and earn $15 per hour net, your hour of watching TV or hanging out at the sports bar would have this value at age 65:

Age 60 – $23.49
Age 55 – $36.77
Age 50 – $57.57
Age 45 – $90.14
Age 40 – $141.13
Age 35 – $220.96
Age 30 – $345.95
Age 25 – $541.65
Age 20 – $848.05
Age 15 – $1,327.77

This is making the assumption that you take those net earnings and sock them away long term in an investment returning 9%. I came up with this assumption based on my own realistic returns over 28 years in stocks and bullion and real estate and divided it by 2.

Remember, this is assuming that person at that age traded just one hour of mindless TV for work and then never again.

The 1 year plan is even better

So you’ve done it, you’ve traded just one entire hour out of your life for zero reward living and if you started young enough, the potential is mindblowing.  Even if you’re under 50 it’s still nothing to scoff at.

Let’s assume that you’re going to follow this route for 12 months.  10 hours a week of TV time turned into 10 hours a week of gig economy work, for 52 weeks and then you’ll call it quits.

At the end of 1 year, you’ll potentially have $8,154.07. Pretty nifty chunk of change that most people don’t even have today in the bank at any age. But what happens after that year, if you sock it away until you’re 65?

Age 60 – $12,002.72
Age 55 – $19,542.74
Age 50 – $31,819.35
Age 45 – $51,808.04
Age 40 – $84,353.48
Age 35 – $136,321.33
Age 30 – $221,957.43
Age 25 – $361,389.51
Age 20 – $588,411.83
Age 15 – $958,047.96

So if you encourage your 15 year old “kid” to go out and spend 10 hours a week mowing lawns, shoveling snow, picking weeds, washing cars, etc, until they’re just one year older, and help them invest it properly, by retirement they’ll be a millionaire.  Of course, inflation means that million in 50 years won’t be worth as much as today, but in my entire life, a million bucks has always been more than any normal person can imagine.  And this is just 1 year of a little extra work instead of video games or hiding pot from mom and dad.

And the 5 year plan is mind blowing

The average high reward consumer at any age can turn even 10 hours of football and fantasy dramas a week into productive time. Let’s make a new forecast based on turning 10 hours of your consumer behavior into producer behavior for a period of just 5 years, every week, starting at whatever age you are:

5 years working 10 hours extra a week at $15/hour with 9% returns – $49,882.70

Now let’s take that value after 5 years and sock it away and don’t do any additional gig work. Assuming you started the 5 years of extra work at the following age, by 65 you’ll have:

Age 60 – $49,882.70 (no return)
Age 55 – $80,464.31
Age 50 – $131,011.41
Age 45 – $213,311.85
Age 40 – $347,312.83
Age 35 – $565,492.29
Age 30 – $920,730.53
Age 25 – $1,499,126.91
Age 20 – $2,440,867.79
Age 15 – $3,974,203.60

Those video games you spent playing 10 hours a week from age 15-20? Those hours could have been worth $4 million by age 65 assuming you just worked for 10 hours a week EXTRA for just 5 years.

Remember, this isn’t a person who is doing skilled labor at a 9-5 job who has to show up for work or they’ll be fired.  This is unskilled labor that you can do on your schedule, when you want to, and if you don’t want to work one day, no one is going to fire you.

If your teenager starts today, works 10 hours a week for 5 years and then quits, by retirement age they can potentially have $4 million in the bank.