Can money buy happiness?

Between dealing with the stresses of work and the challenges of home life, finding a way to be happy can be a challenge.  Still, to some degree, happiness is a choice, and the everyday decisions we make can have an impact on how we feel.

But what does that actually mean from a concrete point of view?  To some extent, you do want to learn to control your emotions—but you also still want to ground your life in experiences so you can remain an active participant.  And that means that you need to proactively pursue more positive experiences to add joy to your life.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that they should spend money on new possessions when they have a windfall of cash, because they figure that experiences are fleeting, and therefore less valuable than things.

But research actually shows the opposite.  In reality, buying possessions only brings us fleeting happiness, but buying experiences can enhance our overall happiness over the long term.  Why?  Experiences give us new perspectives, new skills, and new relationships.  They help us to grow and redefine our identities, and give us memories we can reflect on fondly over the long years to come.

An experience can be anything from taking a two-week vacation in Europe to taking a short drive on the weekend.  It could be a class you take or a museum you visit.  It might mean going to a game or watching a concert.  You might wonder how you can afford these experiences, but there are many clever ways to save money and spend on the things that will really make you happier.

To learn all of the ways in which buying experiences instead of things can contribute to your happiness, check out this infographic by InvestmentZen!

To your Success

Kirstin ODonovan

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