Clicky

Search:

Money Can’t Buy Happiness—or Can it?

November 28, 2015 by  
Filed under blog

We’ve all heard the old saying “money can’t buy happiness”, but like many enduring myths, this one is proving not to be true.  Harvard business professor Michael Norton says that money can and does, in fact, buy happiness in many cases.  And quite frankly my personal experience has proved his point over and over again. But really, it’s what you spend the money on that determines if that money actually brings you happiness.

As we’ve just finished the giving of ‘thanks’ on Thanksgiving Day and as we approach Christmas time and the possible gifts we can pass on to others, it’s a good idea to really think through what possible gifts would bring the most lasting happiness and satisfaction. I don’t think giving just ‘stuff’ is the answer as I think professor Norton proves.

Many years ago, I figured this ‘money myth’ really was just that—a myth. I learned it during those years when my family traveled the world. We went everywhere in Europe and had some very interesting and thrilling drives in the family station wagon through the middle eastern countries of Turkey, Syria, Jordon, Lebanon and Egypt. Later in life I even did a ’round the world’ trip. I have often found myself thinking over the grand memories of these wonderful excursions and when I compared the money spent on travel with money spent on a big screen TV or a new fancy car, the experience of the travel won every time.

Discovering that money really can buy happiness was a huge wake up call for me and motivated me in my younger years to figure out the secrets of making millions so I could really lift my happiness level and keep it up there at a high level most of the time.

When it comes to bringing lasting happiness, Professor Norton’s studies show that experience trumps the acquisition of ‘stuff’ almost all the time. That includes all kinds travel and vacations as well as a trip to the beach, mountains or an amusement park with a ride on the roller coaster.

Think about your own life and experiences.  If you are like me, you get tons of pleasure for several days even before you go on your exotic trip simply by thinking about the great things you may encounter and experience. Then you get more happiness and fulfillment during the trip or vacation.  As an extra bonus after you return home, you often live and relive that trip over and over again, sometimes for many, many years after. Compare that with how you think about the ‘stuff’ you have.  The newness of things quickly wears out and doesn’t thrill you much after a short while.

So again, think about the gifts that you may give this Christmas and maybe throw in a plane ticket or two for you kids or grandkids to some place they’ve never been. And yes, keep on earning and investing wisely to build your estate, without guilt, and give others experience rather than just stuff.

Comments