Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happiness Money CAN Buy

From US News and World Report Alpha Consumer:

By comparing consumption data from the national Health and Retirement Study, Thomas DeLeire of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ariel Kalil of the University of Chicago found that spending money on leisure activities, which include vacations, movie theater tickets, and hobbies, improve happiness levels. (Happiness was measured by asking respondents to describe how they felt about their lives.)

Expenditures on durable goods such as refrigerators, clothes, personal items, cars, and housing, on the other hand, did not have an effect on happiness.
Yes, that does make sense. It is not the material things, the study says, but the less tangible but deeply enriching things that can be "bought." I know that in my life. But then I am over 50 which leads to...

One caution, says the article:
The study is based on data from older Americans over the age of 50, so it might not apply to everyone. It’s possible, for example, that younger Americans get more of a happiness surge from keeping up with the latest clothing trends, and older folks get more pleasure from leisure.
Interesting. But I have a hunch that on many levels the information applies to people younger than 50 as well.

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