Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy Money

The book, Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, summarizes current research on how you spend money changes how happy and satisfied you are in life and affects your health and well being.

This is a wonderful book that explains how you can increase your happiness by spending on experiences with the people you value rather than spending on prestige belongings that many people think will make them happy.

According to the book, research shows that spending money on leisure activities like trips, movies, sporting events, gym memberships and the like leads to more happiness than buying expensive consumer and prestige items. Experiences tend to be appreciated more as time goes by whereas things tend to be less appreciated as time goes on as better things than they bought emerge. Experiences tend to make us feel more connected to other people which improves life satisfaction. When couples do exciting and novel things together, their relationships improve. Anything we do to make the time with our friends or partners special is money well spent. Experiences make memorable stories for retelling for years to come and give us a sense of who we are or who we want to be. Experiences can’t be compared  to things purchased. Experiences that remind of us of the past and give us nostalgia, like going to a museum, watching an old movie, or hearing a favorite song, can bolster our vitality and reduce stress.

Research indicates people earning over $75,000 a year do not have an increase in happiness. High income individuals spend more time doing high stress activities like working, commuting, and shopping than those who make less. High income individuals view their time as highly valuable which makes them feel like they have less time. In contrast, buying time, called time affluence, increases happiness. You can gain time affluence by moving closer to work to reduce your commute, working in a job that requires less hours, or hiring people to do your yard work or cleaning.

Research shows that having expensive things does not bring happiness, health, or well-being. The University of Michigan found that those with cheaper cars had the same satisfaction driving them as people with expensive cars. Surprisingly, homeowners are not happier than renters, and are on average are 12 lbs heavier than renters. Those who simplify their lives by reducing their wardrobe, moving into a smaller abode, changing their consumption patterns, and reducing their stuff are happier. The enemy of appreciation is abundance; if we make everything we do special it will increase appreciation and happiness.

I highly recommend this book for people wanting more happiness, time, and life satisfaction. Five Stars. 


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