Happier People Value Time Over Money
Happiness is always an interesting subject.
The big reasons why it captures our attention is because we all want to be happy. It’s one of life’s great pursuits, and being happy is a part of our human nature. Regardless of country, culture, and background.
Happiness means something different to each of us, and what makes us happy is slightly different for each of us. However that doesn’t stop researchers from trying to find the common threads that make up the fabric of happiness. Doing so can help guide everyone towards happier lives.
One of the most recent studies takes a look at how people value time and money. And how those differences might affect our happiness differently.
Lead researcher, Ashley Whillans, is a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia. What did she and her colleagues find out after conducting 6 experiments of over 4,600 participants?
Ashley sums up the results of the study by telling us this:
It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making more money, and prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness.
Ashley and her team surveyed adults and students in a variety of settings. They asked about their general happiness and well-being, and then had them answer a set of questions.
The questions dealt with a trade-offs between having more time or more money. Not only in everyday settings, but also major life scenarios. This helped researchers establish each person’s preference for either time or money.
A little over half of the participants said that time was more important to them. And this choice was consistent, whether it related to a daily routine or a major life event. The scientists then compared their preference to how happy they were.
In general, those who valued time more had higher levels of happiness and well-being. The researchers also looked at other factors that could affect their happiness, such as income and gender. Surprisingly, these two factors didn’t affect the results.
This is another study that goes to show how money has a limited effect on one’s happiness. It’s definitely not the first and probably won’t be the last. Yet, there are many types of people that will prioritize their earnings over everything else.
To each his own, I guess.
Ashley’s advice for those looking to boost their happiness? Here’s what she says:
Having more free time is likely more important for happiness than having more money.
Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier.
Balancing Time and Money
The work-life balance is tough. It’s a constant pull between the two and it seems that we can’t get one without somehow sacrificing the other.
Ashley’s research is just a reminder that sometimes having a bunch of money isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. And her study seems to line up with other recent research which found that getting a raise can make us happier, but not if it comes with working more hours.
All of us are faced with decisions where we have to choose between one or the other. We can rarely have both.
Just make sure that you weigh the costs carefully, as it will most likely have an impact on your level of happiness.