Author: Happiness Academy, www.happinessacademy.eu
“What is more valuable – time or money?” is a question that will always be asked, and each answer will be different.
Debates on this issue are an increasingly common theme in social psychology. Many studies show that having more free time brings more happiness than having more money. This is also the conclusion from a large-scale 2016 survey conducted in 5 stages among 4,415 people with different incomes, jobs and demographics. Participants were asked what they value more – time or money – but they also had to answer the question whether they would agree to get a lower salary for a new job that offers more free time.
The study has shown that people who think time is more important are happier and more satisfied with life.
Here are some other interesting findings from this study:
- It does not matter if people want more time during their day or in their lives as a whole. Both lead to a higher level of happiness.
- People who want more money to have more experiences are happier than those who want more money to buy material benefits.
- When participants answered the question of whether they wanted more time or more money, those who wrote more time were a little happier at the moment than those who wanted money. This shows that even thinking of valuing more time than money can help to enhance our momentary happiness.
- Rich people tend to express a greater preference over time vs. money in general, which may mean that it is more difficult to give a fair answer than we think or that people always want what they do not have.
Still, what to do: more time or more money?
It should be noted that for some people, the importance of money over time is a necessity, not a choice. Some people have to choose a better-paid job with longer working hours, otherwise they cannot cover their basic costs in life. I.e. even if they prefer to have more time than money, they cannot afford it.
Research in the US shows that money matters to happiness to the extent that it allows us to meet our basic needs (which is US $ 75,000 annual income). But provided that our basic needs are satisfied, we need to be careful what we want or what we pursue if we want to be happier. As Dr. Raj Raghunathan, Professor for Psychology at the University of Texas, writes in his book, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you happy?“:
“The catch is that as revenue increases, costs increase and magically catch up on revenue. This is one of the reasons why the higher income does not improve the level of happiness. There is another reason for this, that the joyous feeling of raising our salary is quickly exhausted, and one needs a new increase to experience the same joy. Our tendency to become accustomed to our higher incomes – as indeed any other sign of superiority, including power, glory, or beauty – is so widespread that accustoming can be considered one of the most characteristic traits of our human nature. For example, the propensity to become accustomed is the main reason for the intriguing and well-known fact that lottery winners two years later are not happier than those who have never won. The fact that we are accustomed to new levels of wealth, power and glory – and other materialistic signs of superiority – means that if we have to bind our happiness with the need for superiority, we will have to become richer, stronger and more glorious throughout our whole lives to maintain high levels of happiness. You do not have to be a genius to know that is very unlikely.
The habit, therefore, is one of the reasons that materialism in the long run reduces the level of happiness. Another reason is unrealistically high expectations of people that material benefits will make them happy; these high expectations, according to surveys, are at the heart of the discontent of materially-oriented people. Materialism reduces their level of happiness, and because it promotes egocentrism and reduces compassion, it leads reluctance to others to cooperate with them, which in turn reduces their happiness in the long run. Maybe as a result of the reduced degree of compassion, materialistically oriented people are more likely to compromise with things that actually bring joy and happiness – for example, walking with friends or family or contributing to society – for money, power and glory. “
So, the next time you make a difficult choice between more time or more money, think of your happiness, not just your wallet. Choose what makes you happier as long as you can afford it.
Thanks to the Happiness Academy (www.happinessacademy.eu) for this wonderful article on the value of time over money for our happiness levels and for our coorperation to raise happiness levels and help people to live a life of fullfillment and joy.
Happiness Academy’s mission is to teach what was not taught in a traditional classroom – how to live a life of happiness and fulfillment. They believe that happiness is not just a perfect image you have in your head or a future destination. It is a deep sense of satisfaction and well-being that you are able to train and cultivate. They commit to inspire, guide and empower people to learn Happiness.
May 2020 be the year of more Happiness for all!