MyMoney Online

Money CAN make you happy (but only if you don’t buy stuff with it)

Also read the following related article:

- 13 random thoughts on living a happier, less materialistic life

Can money make you happy?

Wall Street Journal writer Andrew Blackman recently addressed this issue in a column he wrote (click here for the original piece):

“Over the past few years, new research has given us a much deeper understanding of the relationship between what we earn and how we feel. Economists have been scrutinising the links between income and happiness across nations, and psychologists have probed individuals to find out what really makes us tick when it comes to cash. The results, at first glance, may seem a bit obvious: Yes, people with higher incomes are, broadly speaking, happier than those who struggle to get by. But dig a little deeper into the findings, and they get a lot more surprising — and a lot more useful.”

In short, this latest research suggests that wealth alone doesn’t provide any guarantee of a good life. What matters a lot more than a big income is how people spend it.

Experiences are worth more than you think (and “stuff” is worth less)

Numerous studies conducted over the past 10 years have shown that life experiences give us more lasting pleasure than material things, yet people often deny themselves experiences and prioritise buying material goods.

Prof. Howell, associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, decided to look at what’s going on.

In a study published early in 2014 he found that people assume purchases of durable material goods offer better value for money than spending on fleeting experiences. So, although they’ll occasionally splurge on a big vacation or concert tickets, when they’re in more money-conscious mode, they stick to material goods.

Yet, Prof. Howell found that, when people looked back at their purchases, they realise the opposite is true: experiences actually provided better value.

Experiences tend to meet more of our underlying psychological needs. They’re often shared with other people, giving us a greater sense of connection, and they form a bigger part of our sense of identity.

If you’ve climbed in the Himalayas, that’s something you’ll always remember and talk about, long after all your favourite gadgets have gone to the landfill.

Don’t adapt to what you buy

One of the main reasons why having more stuff doesn’t always make us happy is that we adapt to it. A raise at work gives you a boost, but only until your aspirations inevitably rise too. You might buy a bigger home in a new neighbourhood, and so your neighbours are richer, and you start wanting even more.

You’ve stepped on the hedonic treadmill.

Trying to prevent that, or slow it down, is really a challenge. One approach that can work is to consciously try to foster appreciation and gratitude for what you have. The process of adaptation, after all, comes from taking what you have for granted, so you can slow it down by reminding yourself of why you value what you have.

Try giving it away

Although earning more tends to enhance our well-being we become happier by giving it away than by spending it on ourselves.

Be sure to buy time too

It’s also important to consider how what you’re buying will affect how you spend your time.

That big house in the suburbs may seem like a good idea, but a 2004 study by the University of Zurich found that people with longer commutes reported lower overall life satisfaction, all other things being equal.

Also read the following related article:

- 13 random thoughts on living a happier, less materialistic life

Listen to the Soundcloud clip for more detail and listeners' responses to questions such as these:

- What is more important; the amount of money you have or what you do with it?

- What experiences have you had recently, while on holiday or taking some time for yourself to reflect, that were worth more to you than the amount of money you were spending?


This article first appeared on 702 : Money CAN make you happy (but only if you don’t buy stuff with it)


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
How to make best use of your year-end bonus

How to make best use of your year-end bonus

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Warren Ingram, Personal Financial Advisor and Executive Director at Galileo Capital.

How to help your children get rich (long before they start working)

How to help your children get rich (long before they start working)

Time. It’s the most important factor, says Sam Beckbessinger, author of “Manage Your Money like a F*cking Grownup”.

3 best shares (local and offshore) to buy before the year ends (by I-Capital)

3 best shares (local and offshore) to buy before the year ends (by I-Capital)

Lance Williams of I-Capital shares his stock picks of the week. These are the best shares to invest in, right now.

10 most-read 'personal finance' articles of 2018

10 most-read 'personal finance' articles of 2018

Making ends meet, investments, property, debt, financial freedom… these were the very best "your money" articles of the year.

How to choose the best financial products (e.g. investments, insurance, etc.)

How to choose the best financial products (e.g. investments, insurance, etc.)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Warren Ingram, Personal Financial Advisor at Galileo Capital.

13 random thoughts on living a happier, less materialistic life

13 random thoughts on living a happier, less materialistic life

702/Capetalk's Kabous le Roux shares 13 thoughts he has on being less materialistic and living the good life right here right now.

Popular articles
Parents urged to help transgender kids flourish

Parents urged to help transgender kids flourish

Psychiatrist Dr Simon Pickstone-Taylor says roughly 50% of transgender teens who aren't supported, will attempt suicide in SA.

Not compulsory for WC parents to buy toilet paper on 2019 school stationery list

Not compulsory for WC parents to buy toilet paper on 2019 school stationery list

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond says public schools receive funding towards maintaining 'the national norms and standards'.

'In a school over 50% black, teachers were still majority white'

'In a school over 50% black, teachers were still majority white'

Pundits on the Eusebius McKaiser Show discuss private schools and their reluctance to hire black teachers.

Jawitz Properties sues property owner R320 000 for breach of contract

Jawitz Properties sues property owner R320 000 for breach of contract

Property owner Lynne Zurnamer says she waited for almost 12 months for Jawitz to sell her property and decided to cut ties.

Controversy over who should lead UWC

Controversy over who should lead UWC

Law professor, Dr Danny Titus, explains why the extension of Professor Tyrone Pretorius's contract has enraged certain people.

Sassa beneficiaries to receive an early Christmas

Sassa beneficiaries to receive an early Christmas

Sassa beneficiaries will receive their grant money on 28th of November and they are advised to use it wisely this festive season.

How to protect your wealth in these trying economic times...

How to protect your wealth in these trying economic times...

Personal Financial Advisor Warren Ingram discusses a number of strategies for protecting your wealth in these trying times.

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

These are the emergency numbers you should have on your cellphone and this is what you must understand about how they work.