Arthur C. Brooks has been writing a series in The Atlantic magazine entitled “How To Build A Life”. His most recent installment, “How To Buy Happiness”, was thought provoking. I would like to share his observation that “the joys of money are nothing without other people.”
Studies have tried to equate happiness with achieving a certain level of income, say $75,000-$90,000. These studies do not necessarily, in my opinion, identify happiness thresholds as they tend to address day to day financial needs such as food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, etc.
These types of studies do not adjust for levels of debt, regional cost differences or age. Brooks, who is also a professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School and host of the podcast “The Art of Happiness”, cuts through all of the metrics people usually apply to money and happiness and points to research that stresses the importance of HOW you spend your money, rather than your net worth or income level as benchmarks for happiness.
Brooks notes, “spending money to have experiences, buying time, and giving money away to help others all reliably raise happiness.” Let’s take these one at a time. Experiences create memories which are treasured. Whether they be dinners, trips or any other activity, the key here is the opportunity to share experiences with others.
Buying time is merely paying someone else to perform tasks that you would rather not. Whether it be gardening, mowing the lawn or cleaning your home, buying time can help to free up time for the things that you never seem to have time for.
Believe it or not, most of our clients tell us that they derive more enjoyment from giving their money away, than they did earning it. This can entail gifting funds to their kids when they need it the most or giving a hand to charitable organizations that provide essential services to those most in need. As we get older, we are not as oriented toward receiving gifts as we are to making them.
So there you have it. The keys to happiness revolve around sharing experiences with others. If you can use some help on how to create more of that time to share, or experiences that a can create memories that last a lifetime, call one of our advisors.