What is the real relationship between money and your happiness? What are the things we buy that make us happy? What does science say about the link between happiness and money? These are just some of the questions answered by this fun infographic by happiness company Happify.
Going camel riding with your mates? That’s the best way to spend your money.
Spending your money on experiences and not on things, is key. It’s top of the list on this infographic, and for good reason. Many of us live in a world of ifs and buts regarding our happiness, and much of our anticipated happiness revolves around material possessions: if I have a bigger house; if I have a nice car; if I could afford a holiday…
Science has a different view, grounded in fact: it’s our experiences that make us happy, not the things we acquire. And science has quite a lot to say on why we should spend our money on experiences:
- We tend to interpret our experiences more positively than they might actually have been when we look back on them. By contrast, if you make a make a wrong purchase (assuming you can’t take it back), you’re stuck with it. And you will look upon your purchase negatively.
- We become easily bored of our material possessions. By contrast, memories of the great holiday you had in Guatemala with your friends will never bore you.
- It’s more difficult to compare experiences. Which was better: the amazing holiday in Dubai or the one-of-a-kind holiday you had with your BFFs in Wales? Difficult to choose, isn’t it. This isn’t the case with material possessions, for example cars, which come with not just a price tag but a status tag: you’ve got a Renault, your friend has a Merc – unsurprisingly, he’s the one feeling smug and you’re the one feeling sick. Experiences are less likely to stress you out because you are less likely to associate them with status.
- We’re social animals. This means being around people matters to us. Therefore, experiences are more conducive to happiness than things.
- Our experiences become part of our identity. The sum total of our experiences has more to do with who we are than the things that we have bought. And which would you rather delete: the memory of your best friend’s wedding, or the dress you wore to the wedding? Such is the value of our experiences.
This is by no means the only insight from this great infographic. Check it out and let me know what your takeaways are.