MONEY, HAPPINESS AND THE SECRET OF A WEALTHY LIFE
You do not want to be rich. You want to be happy. The question is, can money buy happiness? It turns out that they can – to a certain extent.
There is definitely a strong interdependence between wealth and happiness. Rich countries tend to be happier than poor countries. And rich people tend to be happier than poor people. But the effect of money on happiness is not as great as you can imagine. If you have clothes, food, and a roof over your head, then more money will have only a small effect on your sense of well-being. More important are other factors.
In the 2005 Review of General Psychology, Sonya Lubomirsky, Kennon Sheldon and David Scade drew attention to years of research aimed at determining what contributes to long-term happiness. They found that about half of our happiness is the biological, definite meaning of happiness. Approximately 40% of happiness comes from the things we want to do, like exercise, setting goals and building relationships. And only about 10% of our happiness is based on circumstances such as age, race, gender – and perhaps you will be surprised by the financial situation.
Although your financial situation plays only a small role in your “total” happiness, it still affects. According to an article published in April 2011 in the Journal of Consumer Psychology (Journal of Consumer Psychology), some financial habits bring more satisfaction than others.
“If money doesn’t make you happy, then maybe you misuse it,” write the authors Elizabeth Dunn, Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson.
They offer several principles designed to maximize happiness:
• Buy more experience and less stuff. Wealth is depreciated. What you will get the next day will probably cost less than what you paid for it. Experience, on the other hand, is appreciated. Your memories of what you did — taking a vacation, going to a concert — become more valuable over time.
• Use your money to help other people. Personal spending has only a very small effect on happiness, but “pro-social” spending — charity or buying gifts for people — produces strong, positive feelings.
• Buy more small joys than a handful of big ones. It’s hard for me to take on a personal level, because I used to refrain from daily indulgence in big rewards. But, according to the authors, people tend to be happier with “frequent doses of beautiful things than infrequent doses of cute things.”
• Pay now, but use later. Buying today and paying tomorrow lead to debt and unhappiness. Deferred pleasure makes us happier and not because we avoid debt. It also builds expectation (which is nice in itself) and usually leads us to a reasonable choice.
• Be careful to compare purchases. If you read Barrie Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice, then you know that people with less choice tend to be happy. With less choice, you will be less likely to make a mistake when shopping, and accordingly you will be less likely to suffer the buyer’s repentance syndrome. In addition, it will be more difficult to know which features are most significant in fact. Find a good option, go to him and do not look back.
What is the best way to make sure money makes you happy? In 2010, Berkshire Hathaway – also known as Woodstock for Capitalists – the business partner of Warren Buffet, Charlie Münger, shared the pearl of wisdom at the 2010 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders: “.
If you can’t be content with what you have, you can never lead a rich life even if you make money.