Did You Know?

According to studies, you'll be happier spending your money on experiences rather than possessions.

According to studies, you'll be happier spending your money on experiences rather than possessions.

When you work hard every single day and there’s only so much money left after your regular expenses, you have to make certain it’s well spent. Spend your limited funds on what science says will make you happy.

The Paradox Of Possessions

A 20-year study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, reached a powerful and straightforward conclusion: Don’t spend your money on things. The trouble with things is that the happiness they provide fades quickly. 

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” Gilovich said. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

The paradox of possessions is that we assume that the happiness we get from buying something will last as long as the thing itself. It seems intuitive that investing in something we can see, hear, and touch on a permanent basis delivers the best value. But it’s wrong.

Gilovich and other researchers have found that experiences—as fleeting as they may be—deliver more-lasting happiness than things. Here’s why:

Experiences become a part of our identity. We are not our possessions, but we are the accumulation of everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done, and the places we’ve been. Buying an Apple Watch isn’t going to change who you are; taking a break from work to hike the Appalachian Trail from start to finish most certainly will.

Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” said Gilovich. "You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences."


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