There are plenty of theories about the relationship between money and happiness, but most of us really love spending money – on new clothes and shoes, on beautiful jewelry, fast cars, or gifts for our closest people. Spending money makes you feel good, but it rarely has any direct link to true happiness. Or so we thought. Actually, scientists are convinced that money, spent on experiences does make you happy.
When we buy something new, we feel euphoric, but the feeling doesn’t last long. However, a recent study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, suggests that buying an experience brings a long-lasting feeling of happiness. Researcher Amit Kumar, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University says that people who spend their money on an experience such as vacation are happier than those who spend their money on material things. Of course, saving that extra money or investing them makes more financial sense. But if you are looking for happiness and not a financial security, you should go for the vacation.
Researchers continue explaining that it’s simply the experience versus the material purchase that is relevant here. In fact, the anticipation from your vacation is what makes you happier – or as scientists note, you are in a better mood and better behaved. Another study by the UPF Barcelona School of Management team says that wealth and abundance “undermine appreciation”. Being rich reduces the positive emotions from everyday experiences. In other words, you are richer, but you also have bigger problems and you don’t have much time for entertainment and for appreciation of what you’ve accomplished.
According to these and many other similar research papers before them, you will be either rich and unhappy, or poor and happy. And this is an absolutely ridiculous notion, because we are feeling most depressed and desperate when we have financial problems. And not all rich people are too busy to have fun. Actually, they do have fun, they spend plenty of time with their families, and they travel. So, yes, it’s sometimes better spending for vacation, while at other times, you should probably think of your financial security first.
So, what do you think? What is the real connection between money and satisfaction? Is there any at all?