How do Happiness & Money go together?

Money, money, money… it’s a simple, yet contentious reserve of value. How has it come to be so important? Money is an agreement, a form of self-fulfilling trust. It is a measure – how valuable is our behavior on the planet? Sometimes we are granted with money, with a smile, or with a punch in the face. The attempt is huge and heroic: to strive to evaluate every skill and vocation, without letting anyone upset. I like that we try to estimate what we considered to be immeasurable. Once upon a time, consultancy was an occasional chat with a friend. Nowadays, it’s an industry.

 

If your target in money spending is happiness, scientific research shows that experiences have to be chosen over things. When eventually buying stuff, it is useful to think about what experience you’re going to get. I love buying books. The purchase makes me happy already. When the pack is delivered to my door, I’m so excited I can’t wait but break it open. And the best is usually yet to come. Books inspire, books connect, books relieve. It’s not an ode, just an example of how objects could be valuable to us, thus a beautiful experience to buy.

 

I believe that every of us, the so called “market”, has already understood that. Stuff pricing falls, while service’s mostly arises. Services become more valuable when provide us with exciting, better experiences. Objects do the same, but the technology razor kills the costs by exponential ratios. Scientific research suggests experience has a major impact on happiness due to experience-related positive peaks, that we are likely to remember. That might be the explanation to another, seemingly dual research statement:

“Money is related with self-oriented actions. Happiness is mostly developed within relationships.”

Experiences are usually shared, while buying is mostly a solo act. When money is spent on objects and experiences that enhance our connections, happiness comes in.

 

Pay now, consume later.

It is a little counterintuitive, still research-based piece of advice. Credit cards are an example of attractive tools that allow us to delay pain (yes – spending activates neural areas witch are related physical suffering). But the payoff is eventually to get into even more pain (debt shows to be the most stressful issue overall). What about doing the opposite? To buy in advance is fruitful – you get a free excitement while waiting for the purchase, and once the time has come, you might have even forgotten and you kinda get a self-given gift!

 

Bottom line: turn the focus on earning more into changing the way of spending what you’ve already got.


All of the above was mainly inspired by the episode #50 of the fantastic You Are Not So Smart Podcast. Check it out!

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