In the 1980s author and activist, Edgar Cahn tried to figure out a way to help address multiple unfulfilled societal needs. He was trying to promote the concept of rewarding community participation in a way that would get more people to start spending more time helping people around them and societies in general. That is when he came up with the concept of time banking.
But exactly what is time banking? And how can it allow people to help their societies, save money and of course time? They say that time is money so by default, the moment you save time, you save money. Time banking, as the name states, is a process or better yet, a technique to save time and money while completing your daily tasks.
What is Time Banking?
The definition of Time Banking given by Investopedia is the following:
‘’Time banking is a reciprocity-based work trading system in which hours are the currency. It is a form of community currency, which enables a person with one skill set to trade hours of work with someone with another skillset, without any money changing hands.’’
But what does that mean exactly? Let us break down the process with an example.
You have a particular set of skills. You are good with your hands and perhaps you are very good at completing tasks involving handy work. That means that you can fix things around your house without needing the help of a professional to do it for you. You are saving money, but are you saving time? No because apart from the chores you will need to do around your house, you will also need to spend time completing other tasks that might not be in your ”field of action”.
Your finances might be one of those. You need to do your taxes, but you do not have the knowledge an accountant would have, to collect the necessary documents and properly complete the tasks . To do that on your own you will need to spend a lot of time and hiring an accountant is expensive.
An easy technique to promote Active Ageing
Now imagine a system in which, you would help an accountant by fixing their leaking pipes and cupboards and as ”payment”, the accountant would do your taxes for free. You would not be paying any money to hire someone, the accountant would save money since they will not have to hire a handyman and you are both going to be saving time.
This is the concept behind Time Banking. It is a great way not just to save money and time but to actually become a very important part of your local community. Time Banking is a technique that is used a lot to promote Active Ageing. It can help older people be active members of society, meet new people and form new relationships.
The EU is promoting these actions through European projects like the Colabor-Active project. Projects about active ageing can provide you with great information about the different techniques. Techniques to help older people be more active and societies evolve, in general.