Subscribe to Inc. magazine

Dave Kerpen: 'I Won't Choose Money Over My Life'

Investors, hush. Serial entrepreneur Dave Kerpen says he's more productive when he takes time out for himself and his family.

What would you say if a criminal held you up at gunpoint, and asked, "Your money or your life?" If you were given the choice between giving up your wallet and keeping your life, or holding on to your wallet and perhaps losing your life, what choice would you make? You would choose your life, right?

And yet, everyday, do you choose money, your business, or your career over your life? Most people make many sacrifices in order to make more money. Most people work more hours than they'd want to, in order to make more money, thinking it will help them become happier.

But time and time again, studies show that after $75,000 in annual income, more money is not correlated with greater happiness. Money gets you a lot of things, like nicer cars and homes and vacations. But money does not buy happiness, beyond $75,000 a person at least. And yet you sacrifice your time, health, and life to pursue a dollar.

Entrepreneurial drive is great. I love people with big ideas who work hard everyday to change the world. Heck, I consider many of my employees and friends to be such people. But there's a difference between working to change the world and working to make money. And, even if you are a leader trying to change the world, you've got to put yourself and your life first if you're going to help others.

Even though it is sometimes hard for me to admit it, I won't choose money over my life. That might upset my company's investors, who obviously want the biggest return on their investment they can get. That might upset my employees; I leave work at 5PM on most days.

But I know it's the right choice for me--and, therefore, it's the right choice for my family, my employees, and even my investors. Time for myself and my family will make me happier, healthier, and ultimately more productive at work.

Your money or your life? I don't need a criminal holding me up at gunpoint to make that choice. Do you?

Last updated: Jul 16, 2013

DAVE KERPEN | Columnist | CEO, Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Want to learn about how to grow your business using social media in 2 minutes? Click here.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

Register on today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments

Or sign up using: