Money probably can buy you happiness
Does your new model six-cylinder car make you happier? What about that new in-home cinema, complete with HD-TV, surround sound, and reclining couches? You think so. How about the holiday you recently took with the family?
Unfortunately, as humans we are not that good at predicting, understanding, or acting in a way that makes us happy. This lack of knowledge is even more pronounced when it comes to the relationship between what we buy and how happy it makes us.
Have you even considered how happy various purchases you’ve made have actually made you?
The relationship between happiness, money and what we buy is a complex one, and until recently has been completely neglected. Quite surprising when we live in a capitalist, money obsessed society.
Luckily for us Australians most global studies on happiness find a pretty strong correlation between happiness and financial prosperity. In particular the happiness of a country is mainly determined by the level of wealth, health, and education that nation has to offer*.
However, how do people within those prosperous nations spend their money to ensure they stay happier? Short answer is they have no idea. However, if want to know how to ‘buy happiness’ take the following on board. People who research these types of things suggest that if you ant to be happier, you should purchase:
Romance: Happy wife, happy life. Buy your loved one flowers, or spend on things that facilitate a significant relationship.
Interests: Get in ‘Flow’ and foster deep interests, buy the new golf clubs, or spend on things you are already truly passionate about (note: the same is not true for things you have a superficial or shallow interest in)
Experiences: Experiences last forever. If it’s a choice between the two buy the family holiday over the new car.
Sociability: Enhance sociability with others, shout dinner for 8 at a nice restaurant, or buy a BBQ and make sure you invite the neighbors over
Gifts: Giving to others will make you far happier than taking. Donate now.
So there you have it, don’t believe what they’ve always told you money can buy happiness. Another fallacy you may have heard along these lines is that people who win lotteries are not happier after the win. Again, this just isn’t true. The most accurate studies in the area show, that even after two years (and probably more) those who experience a financial win fall are happier**.
Money, and how we spend it play a major role in how happy we, and our loved ones are. As responsible, self-determinist individuals we have to take responsibility for knowing how to spend it to maximize our happiness. Fortunately, the worlds of economics, positive psychology and sustainability are merging, and brewing is the is emergence of accurate information on how to buy happiness. This will represent a fundamental shift in how people are sold to. It will become increasingly important on marketers to deliver happiness, not just talk about it.
*Adrian White, 2006
** Gardner and Oswald, 2007
Don’t miss: Get The Punch in your inbox every day
Get The Punch on Facebook
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…