If you wanted to buy happiness, how would you go about it?
Some people say money can’t buy happiness. According to recent research, that’s mostly because they don’t know the right way to spend money.
Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, has extensively researched the correlation between money and happiness and concluded that spending money on experiences such as traveling to an exotic destination or having a nice meal at a good restaurant yields far much greater happiness than spending money on things.
While it is true things can make you happy, the happiness only lasts for a little while. This is because humans tend to adapt to objects pretty quickly and the dopamine rush from using the object levels out after a few uses.
Experiences, on the other hand, make us happier for much longer. The joy not only comes from living the experience but also in the wait and the build up to the event. If you booked an African safari, for instance, your anticipation of the safari experience will make you feel happier almost immediately.
Experiences also give us life memories we can relive every day. Your identity is determined by your life experiences so you should aim to have more fulfilling experiences. If you have the means to purchase such experiences then you should definitely prioritize experiences over things.
What if you don’t want to spend the money on yourself? Turns out helping other people can also make you happy. Giving acts such as donating money to charity, helping out a relative or buying a loved one a gift will not only help the person in need of help, it will also make you happy.
The infographic below from Investmentzen makes the case for why you should consider spending the bulk of your money on memorable experiences instead of material objects.