They say money can't buy you happiness, but new research suggests otherwise

Wealth offers the opportunity to have more free time, for example by paying more to live closer to work


News Desk July 26, 2017
PHOTO COURTESY: The Telegraph

A new research suggests that money can buy you happiness in the form of paying people to do your chores, reported The Independent.

The interesting thing to note is that even though money may not be equipped to buy one the feeling of happiness, it can, however, buy you extra free time and that may make one happier, the study suggests. Instead of engaging in “retail therapy”, one should pay someone to clean, cook, mow the lawn, do maintenance work or even shop.

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One of the researchers, Professor Elizabeth Dunn, said: “Although buying time can serve as a buffer against the time pressures of daily life, few people are doing it even when they can afford it. Lots of research has shown that people benefit from buying their way into pleasant experiences, but our research suggests people should also consider buying their way out of unpleasant experiences.”

“We thought the effects might only hold up for people with quite a bit of disposable income, but to our surprise, we found the same effects across the income spectrum,” said Professor Dunn, of British Columbia University in Canada. Also adding that the benefits of extra time "aren't just for wealthy people”.

The sample consisted of more than 6,200 people in US, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands, asking how they felt and how much they spent on time-saving services. “Across samples, there was a significant interaction between time-saving purchases and time stress,” they wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Deconstructing this interaction, time stress was associated with lower life satisfaction among respondents who did not spend money on time-saving purchases. “For respondents who spent money on time-saving purchases, the negative effect of time pressure on life satisfaction was not significant.”

As a part of the study conducted, the researchers also gave $40 to 60 people in Vancouver to spend on a material purchase on one weekend, and a time-saving service on another weekend. It was found that people were happier in the latter case.

However the survey found that many people did not seem to want to buy time-saving services even when they could easily afford them. Of some 818 Dutch millionaires included in the survey nearly half said they “spent no money outsourcing disliked tasks”.

“People who hire a house cleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy,” said another of the researchers, Professor Ashley Whillans, of Harvard Business School. "But our results suggest that buying time has similar benefits for happiness as having more money.”

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“In recent decades, incomes have risen in many countries, potentially exacerbating a new form of poverty: from Germany to Korea to the United States, people with higher incomes report greater time scarcity," the paper said. “Feelings of time stress are in turn linked to lower well-being, including reduced happiness, increased anxiety, and insomnia.

“Time stress is also a critical factor underlying rising rates of obesity: lacking time is a primary reason that people report failing to eat healthy foods or exercise regularly.

“In theory, rising incomes could offer a way out of the ‘time famine’ of modern life, because wealth offers the opportunity to have more free time, such as by paying more to live closer to work.”

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COMMENTS (2)

MJ-Sid | 3 years ago | Reply It is more comfortable crying inside your Mercedes S-class than doing the same sitting on the torn out seat of your Honda 70.
Rollin & Trollin | 3 years ago | Reply Of course money buys happiness and more.
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