Can money make you happy?
What would make you happy? Really happy? A nice holiday, lazing on a tropical beach? Maybe a blowout meal with friends at a swanky restaurant? Or possibly splashing out on a pair of the latest designer jeans? All these pleasures cost money so does that mean we need lots of cash to feel good or does the old saying 'money can't buy happiness' still ring true?
This well-worn adage has been put to the test by scientists in Canada. They found that when used in the right way, money can bring us happiness. They discovered that when you use money to free up time, by paying someone to do your chores for example, you are happier. In an experiment, individuals reported greater higher life satisfaction if they used $40 to save time rather than spend it on material goods such as a new pair of shoes. But surprisingly, the researchers found that fewer than a third of individuals spent money to buy themselves time each month.
In our hectic lives time is one thing we seem to be short of. People are reporting a 'time famine', where they get stressed over the daily demands on their time. Psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower well-being and contributes to anxiety and insomnia. But in many countries now, as incomes are rising, there is an option to buy more time.
This can be through hiring a cleaner to clean your house or outsourcing your ironing to someone else - giving us valuable extra hours to do the things we want to do. And in many forward-thinking companies, staff are given the opportunity to buy more time off or work flexibly.
Professor Dunn, who worked with colleagues at Harvard Business School, Maastricht University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, says that "money can in fact buy time. And it buys time pretty effectively… and so my take home message is, 'think about it, is there something you hate doing that fills you with dread and could you pay somebody else to do that for you?' If so, then science says that's a pretty good use of money.''
I would agree that buying more time makes me feel happier and more relaxed. But making time a priority over making money does come at a price; you have less cash to spend on the things you now have time to do. However there's another old saying that 'life is short and time is swift' so there's no time to waste and there's more to life than doing tedious housework!
money can't buy happiness
come at a price
life is short and time is swift