PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY
Want Happiness? Don’t Buy More Stuff — Go on Vacation
When it comes to spending money on things or experiences, the
research is clear: doing brings more happiness than owning.
By Gary Belsky & Tom Gilovich | July 21, 2011
Given that it’s vacation season for many folks, we thought it a good time to devote this Mind Over Money post to a brief discussion of what personal finance is ultimately all about. Some people, of course, really enjoy counting their money, deriving great satisfaction simply from watching their bottom line grow, often quite removed from any thought of what they might do with their riches. But for most of us, money is just a token for what we can do with it — pay the mortgage or rent, send kids to college, buy a TV or travel to Italy. And for nearly all of us, money is finite; there isn’t enough to do all we want, so we must be selective. That raises a crucial question: if we want to maximize the happiness or satisfaction we get from our money, how should we spend it?
There’s been a lot of recent research on this subject, much of it conducted at Tom’s home institution, Cornell University. And the answer is clear. If you’re conflicted about whether to spend money on a material good (say, a computer) or personal experience (say, a vacation), the research says you’ll get much more satisfaction — and for longer — if you choose the experience. Most of us, it turns out, get more bang from the experiential buck. Indeed, when people are asked to recall their most significant material and experiential purchases over the previous five years, they report that the experience brought more joy, was a source of more enduring satisfaction and was more clearly “money well spent¨.
This might seem counter-intuitive. After all, when faced with a trade-off between doing and buying, many people opt for the material good because “it will still be there” long after the experience would have been enjoyed. In one sense that’s correct: The material good lasts while the experience is fleeting. But psychologically it’s the reverse. We quickly adapt to the material good, but the experience endures in the memories we cherish, the stories we tell and the very sense of who we are.
(http://moneyland.time.com Acesso em 25/08/2011. Adaptado.)
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