I read an article in The Epoch Times, by Joshua Becker in the Mind & Body Section: ‘You Can’t Quite Buy Happiness, but Almost. Researchers have found there are specific ways to spend your money if you want to increase happiness.’ I would love to share the entire piece with you, but I can’t (it’s plagiarism). But instead, will present the heart of the article. I found it relevant to beginning a new year with the question, can we buy happiness?
I’ve often said, money can’t buy happiness, but money can give us choices. I have struggled financially in my life where a bit of money would have presented better choices and put a happy smile on my face, but instead it planted seeds for happier times to come as well as an appreciation of the money when it came.
In researching money, happiness and quotes, I’ve discovered these thoughts from a different perspective:
- Money can't buy happiness, but it will certainly get you a better class of memories. Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul. Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.” Author Unknown
- “What money can buy; A bed but not sleep, computer but not brain, food but not appetite, finery but not beauty, a house but not a home, medicine but not health, luxuries but not culture, amusements but not friends, obedience but not faithfulness, sex but not love.” – Author unknown
After experiencing our 2020 Pandemic year, some of us are reviewing how we’ve spent our time and others, how we want to spend our time and money going forward. What have we learned and what changes do we want to make with our new found understanding of what really matters? The question, can money buy us happiness deserves a continual review. Here is one to ponder.
In the article Mr. Becker, who writes specifically on minimizing and money matters suggest that more people have their financial needs met. “The items considered ‘needs’ today would have been considered a luxury not that long ago. And minimalism provides greater financial flexibility to those who choose it. When we remove ourselves from the constant pursuit and accumulation of material possession, we soon experience and easily recognize greater financial flexibility. These two understandings of money and minimalism can increase our overall happiness and well-being, " he says.
Along with a captivating study recently published in ‘Advances in Experimental Social Psychology’ by researchers from Harvard, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University, “Prosocial Spending and Buying Time: Money as a Tool for increasing Subjective Well-Being,” scientists confer there are choices we can make with our financial resources that do increase our overall life satisfaction. Here are their three findings on the best use of our money to bring about well-being and happiness.
Purchasing Experiences: The earliest and most well-developed line of research treating money as a resource to be intentionally utilized shows that, on average, people experience greater happiness when using money to purchase experiences, as opposed to material good.
Prosocial Spending: Spending money on others—whether supporting a charity, treating a friend to dinner, or buying a gift for another—brings more lasting happiness than owning physical possessions.
Buying Time: Whether paying someone to rake your leaves, clean your house, deliver your groceries, or buying a smaller house to reduce your commute, research indicates there is happiness to be found in not just purchasing positive experiences but also purchasing the removal of negative experiences…People who regularly buy time report greater life satisfaction.
As the article wraps a nice ribbon around the heart of this research and Mr. Becker’s views on minimizing and buying happiness, the article concludes with this; “Spending money on others enhances social connection, provides opportunity to make a meaningful impact and promotes well-being and autonomy. And in each regard, this spending delivers these results in more measurable and lasting ways than does buying material possessions.”
Joshua Becker concludes, “If you want to direct your financial resources toward pursuits that pay off in the long run, choose to purchase experiences, prosocial giving, and buy time.”
Wishing you a Very Happy New Year of giving and buying time for more happy experiences coming your way.