There was an interesting article over at U.S. News yesterday, “How to Spend Money So it Makes You Happy.” A recent study was released showing that people that spend money on leisure activities are happier than those that spend it on stuff.
The reason is that spending money on experiences boosts social connectedness. I get that. I’d much rather spend money on a week in Mexico with my hubby, or dinner and a jazz concert with my parents, or the makings for a fabulous meal with friends, than on jewelry or a new handbag.
The study was done on Americans over 50. The article points out that these results may not hold true if they had studied younger people. Maybe. I think I got more pleasure buying stuff when I was younger than I do now. As this New York Times article points out, no one really cares what kind of watch you’re wearing. Maybe it takes age to figure this out.
Anyway, these findings aren’t really all that new. This article in the Wall Street Journal covered a similar study back in 2008. Researchers weren’t studying the effects of spending money, rather the characteristics of happy people. And the happiest were those that spent the most time in leisure activities.
What this all says to me is that it’s not about the spending money part, it’s about the enjoying experiences part. I can get just as much enjoyment with my neighbors and a picnic dinner in the park listening to our local blues band as I would if we all went out for dinner and a show. No study says that the more you spend on an experience the happier you are. It’s about social connectedness, and it doesn’t take a lot of money to get that.
This is a post from Retirement: A Full-Time Job