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Published: May 06, 2024 3 min read
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Americans consider their time to be extremely valuable: On average, they think it’s worth $240 per hour.

Survey data from Empower, a financial planning company, shows that there’s a huge gap between what workers actually earn and what they feel they deserve.

“Based on this study’s findings of how Americans value their time, two hours of meetings at work cost close to $500 per person,” Empower said in a report.

Based on their valuations of an hour of time, Americans think they should make $499,200 per year — assuming a 40-hour work week. (For comparison, the average salary is $59,384.)

If people earned what they say they are worth, many would elect to work fewer hours per week. The survey found that 44% of respondents want to work part-time but cannot to afford to do so.

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How much each generation thinks their time is worth

On the high end of the spectrum, a surprisingly large number of people think their time is worth over $500 per hour. That’s especially true for millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) — 1 in 4 of whom put the value of their time above $500.

Only 6% of baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) say they’re worth that much per hour, according to the Empower survey, which was conducted by Morning Consult.

In general, younger Americans place the highest value on their time. Here’s how much people think an hour of their time is worth, by generation:

  • Gen Z: $266.92 per hour
  • Millennials: $328.84 per hour
  • Gen X: $215.90 per hour
  • Boomers: $137.19 per hour

For the record, the federal minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25 per hour, and the average hourly wage for all workers is about $27, according to ZipRecruiter.

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