A team of scientists seems to have really tested the grounds of an old saying as, according to their latest research, money can, in fact, buy some happiness. However, the report links these positive feeling not to the acquisition of material properties, but to gaining free time.
The international researchers who conducted this study monitored over 6,000 people. These lived in the United States, Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands, and had various income levels. The scientists also conducted several tests to tests their results.
More Free Time, Even One Bought by Money, Can Increase Happiness Levels
The participants were first asked a series of questions. For example, they were questioned if they would spend money on buying free time and if so, how much. Respondents were also asked to rate their stress levels when thinking about time and also their life satisfaction.
Researchers concluded that buying free time could actually make people happier than the acquisition of material possessions. The team also considers that, instead of going for retail therapy, people should spend money on time-saving services. Namely, they could use money to get out of unpleasant tasks, and not just for gaining access to pleasant ones.
“Why does buying time promote happiness? Our experiment provides the clearest window into this process, by demonstrating that people felt less end-of-day time pressure when they purchased time-saving services, which explained their improved mood that day,” claim the researchers.
A follow-up test, which involved 60 people, had them spend money on both buying time and material possessions. Results maintained as participants were more pleased by the extra time than by the new property.
Another part of the study, involving 800 millionaires, asked them about their spending habits and revealed that only about a half of them were buying more free time.
As the trend for happiness and for not buying free time seems to withhold across all income groups, the team will be looking to try and determine a reason behind this latter.
Some theorize that it might be tied to feelings of guilt, others to reluctance, or maybe even the inability to organize their time or events.
Current research results are available in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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