The Experiential Economy: Can Money Buy Happiness?

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We recently read this amazing article on Good that really spoke to us. In the sharing economy, we believe that people will start owning fewer things, buying access to services and re-directing their money to what makes them happy. Happiness research shows that we get longer-lasting meaning and fulfillment from experiences than we do from stuff.

Money can’t buy you happiness, right? Wrong. Kinda.

Wealthier people are indeed happier—but only to a point. All that extra cash buys just a small amount of joy. We quickly get used to having money, it turns out, and we almost immediately start comparing our fancy new toys with our neighbors’.

Psychologists have a found a way to make money-fueled happiness last, however: Buy experiences, not material goods. We adapt to things we do slower than just plain things. We’re also less likely to make social comparisons about trips and meals than cars and gadgets. As a result, experiential purchasers report being more satisfied with their lives, less anxious, less depressed, and in better mental and physical health. – Ravi Iyer

Here is a comparison of purchases on an experiential rating scale. Maybe we’re a bit biased, but we think that unique, local experiences rank quite a bit higher than concerts ;).

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