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Experiences, not possessions, lead to greater happiness

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February 8, 2009

Experiences, not possessions, lead to greater happiness

Experiences, not possessions, lead to greater happiness

February 8, 2009 Can money make us happy if we spend it on the right purchases? New research suggests buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness. The study demonstrates that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased well-being because they satisfy higher order needs.

"These findings support an extension of basic need theory, where purchases that increase psychological need satisfaction will produce the greatest well-being," said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology and head of the Personality and Well-Being Lab at San Francisco State University.

Participants in the study were asked to write reflections and answer questions about their recent purchases. Participants indicated that experiential purchases represented money better spent and greater happiness for both themselves and others. The results also indicate that experiences produce more happiness regardless of the amount spent or the income of the consumer.

Experiences also lead to longer-term satisfaction. "Purchased experiences provide memory capital," Howell said. "We don't tend to get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object.

"People still believe that more money will make them happy, even though 35 years of research has suggested the opposite," Howell said. "Maybe this belief has held because money is making some people happy some of the time, at least when they spend it on life experiences."

"The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological need satisfaction" was conducted by Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University and SF State graduate Graham Hill.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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3 Comments

Money can most definitely buy you happiness.

This would be in the form of security, piece of mind, and wellbeing.

For example: A home where you can feel comfortable and safe, transport, insurance, healthy food. And not having to constantly watch you bank balance to make sure you have enough left for food and bills.

Anyone who says otherwise has never tried living without money, possibly not even on a full time minimum wage and probably doesn't realise what a horribly competitive, uncaring lawsuit happy world we live in.

Zarneth
8th February, 2009 @ 06:53 pm PST

Money may not buy happiness, but it sure improves your bargaining position.

Harvey Summers
14th February, 2009 @ 06:30 pm PST

Money can not buy happiness.

Let's talk lease rates.

Slowburn
15th September, 2011 @ 12:18 am PDT
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