Can Money Buy Happiness? A Harvard Professor Says Yes
The old adage "money can't buy happiness" has been a saviour for many of us with less of it. We've been told for years via countless studies on happiness that there's no causal link, but now Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton says there is. His latest research on the science of spending found people really do feel happy when spending their money, but here's the catch: Happiness is greater when the money they spend is on experiences, not things. "It seems odd that things that disappear could make you happier than things that stay," Norton said at The New York Times Dealbook conference.
Why? Well Norton says it's because money spent on material things such as a TV or phone usually equates to time spent in silence or alone, while dishing out cash on a meal with friends or on vacation with the family creates long-lasting bonds and memories. Even though experiences disappear quickly and could involve some less-than-happy moments, Norton says people tend to remember the good more than the bad. "Because experiences disappear, they let us make up a reality that was amazing and wonderful, and they make us happier than stuff," he said. Just what we need to hear with Christmas around the corner.
To find out more about Norton's studies on money and happiness, watch his inspiring TED Talk.
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Does spending money on experiences bring you more joy? Or do you find buying things make you happiest? Let us know below.