Did your mom ever tell you, “Money can’t buy happiness?” Well, she was a little bit right and a big bit wrong. But, before you text to tell her so, check out what the experts found in these scientific studies.
These different studies listed in a great Inc.com article, scientifically prove that although money doesn’t always equal happiness (Hello, Hollywood gazillionaire with a drug addiction) it can buy happiness if certain conditions are true. So stop shaming your spouse if they want you to spend money on:
1. Time savings
You can buy happiness if your cash outlay adds time to your day. For example, if you pay someone else to deliver your groceries, clean your house, care for your yard, etc. you “bought” happiness. The time you freed up by making that purchase gives you back time to do something you enjoy or value.
“Yes, I’d like one order of happiness, please.”
In fact, a study of 4,400 Americans reports that people who “value time over money” are happier than those who don’t.
That may explain the 100+million Amazon Prime subscribers. Saving time is happiness and that subscription is a method to buy happiness.
Scott and I are both primary Spenders (find out your Primary Money Personality here) so we are definitely willing to pay money if it gives us more time.
2. A great experience
A person buys happiness when they spend money to enjoy a great experience.
You might think that an experience doesn’t last and the purchase of a physical thing does so that might bring you more joy. But experts have found that the joy over a physical object fades, but the memory gets greater with time. So jumping out of an airplane is “worth” more than a new living room chair.
So don’t hesitate to spend money to make a memory. You give yourself and your family or friends or your spouse the memory to treasure forever! Not many items last forever, but a great experience can because you remember it.
We even encourage our clients to spend your kids’ inheritance. Don’t make your life boring in retirement or even before retirement to save it for your kids. Enjoy your hard-earned money and invest in your relationship now. The best gift you can give your kids is a happy marriage. Spend money on a great experience and yourselves.
3. Your relationship
Money can buy you happiness when you use that money to invest in your relationship. We totally agree with this. What good is a fat bank account if you have failed to invest in each other and you get to retirement and you find you’ve grown apart? Spend money now to keep that relationship alive and growing.
Money spent on relationships is worth it. A Boston College study found that adults who age with a community of others experience better health. Isolation is detrimental to your emotional and physical wellbeing. They say one of the biggest benefits to your health, as you age is a healthy relationship with a significant other and feeling part of a community. In fact, there are studies that show loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking.
Loneliness isn’t just for old people anymore. Many parents see the increased loneliness in students today. They think because they have lots of friends online that it will make them happy, but without time spent together with another person they feel exceptionally lonely.
Face-to-face time with a friend or your spouse improves your health. Encourage everyone in your household to call someone, spend time with them, and spend money with them.
4. Someone else
You can buy happiness when you spend money on someone else.
When researchers gave college students some extra cash and instructed one group to spend it on themselves and another group to spend it on others, the second group reported much more happiness than the first.
I know when I (Bethany) went on a mission trip to Russia I thought I was going to help other people. And maybe I did that, but I found that the time and money I invested returned tremendous amounts of happiness to me, which I wasn’t expecting.
If it is difficult for you to spend money, find a friend or spouse who is a Spender and let them teach you how. Worry and never spending money to make it easier for you or others won’t make you happy in the end. Find ways to enjoy using your money.
Most financial experts shame Spenders. We won’t ever do that. Money is a means to help others, invest in your relationships, and make wonderful memories to treasure.
Be proud you’re a Spender and celebrate the Spender under your roof.
Make it Happen!
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
Creators of the 5 Money Personalities