It’s a lament we have all had at one time or another: I wish I had more time for the good things in life. With the pace of life today and the competing demands on our time, it can feel like we are missing out on quality time with our loved ones.
So it’s no surprise that we are seeing a rise in the amount of money spent on convenience services; from cleaning to meal delivery, we are starting to see that while money might not be able to buy happiness, it can buy happier time.
In one recent study, participants were asked if they value money or time more, and while a resounding majority chose money, those who chose time were actually happier and more satisfied with their lives. There are several ways you can use money to purchase better time, and by doing so, potentially increase your happiness, the quality of your relationships, and even your mental health.
Buying away negative experiences
One way we can use our money to buy happier time is by giving up the things we hate. Whether your most hated chore is cleaning the house, washing the car, doing the laundry or grocery shopping, there is a service out there that will take it off your hands, at a price.
By getting rid of these hated tasks, you are not only freeing up time for the things you love, you are also taking away something that detracts from your happiness or may even be causing a level of stress or anxiety. And by physically handing over money for these tasks, you are far more likely to ensure you use the time you regain in a positive way.
Buying better relationships
There are several ways you can use your money to improve your relationships. For couples, this might be around reducing friction about household chores by outsourcing them. In fact, Harvard researchers found that ‘disagreements about housework’ was the number one cause of 25% of divorces in the United States. Getting a cleaner just might be the key to a better relationship with your partner, and, at around $40 an hour, much less expensive than relationship counselling.
For singles and younger people, this might be more about swapping chores for quality time to spend with family and friends, deepening and improving relationships and generally getting more enjoyment out of life.
Buying positive experiences
In today’s society, where we are bombarded by advertising for the latest gadgets, many of us think material objects will make us happier. But the reality is, the happiness we get from physical things is typically fleeting before we go on to look for the next thing, and the cycle continues.
People who buy experiences connected to the things and the people they love, however, often feel happier for much longer. A positive experience creates memories that will make you happy for years to come, long after the gadget you had to have has been relegated to landfill.
Some money vs. experience trade-offs are straight-forward, such as spending money on a holiday, others are more indirect. For example, you might choose to spend more on a house purchase or pay more rent to live closer to work and be home for dinner instead of spending your time commuting and missing out on time with your family.
Spending money on others
Being generous, whether through giving to a charity, helping a family member in need, or just spoiling someone important to you, has actually been shown to make us happier. That initial warm fuzzy feeling may be short-lived but making generosity into a habit leads to greater contentment. I know first-hand through my own work with Lungitude, a foundation that supports lung transplant recipients and their families, that giving back has many advantages for the giver too.
It’s that old chestnut – at the end of your life, will you think about the things you had or the things you did? Money is a resource that can do many things for us, and while growing your wealth is important, so too is having quality of life today. Buying happier time for yourself and your loved ones just might help you achieve that goal. At the end of the day, it’s about finding a balance that lets you live for today while planning for tomorrow.
General Advice Disclaimer
The information in this blog is provided by Apt Wealth Partners (AFSL 436121 ABN 49 159 583 847) and is of a general nature only. It may not be relevant to your personal needs, objectives or financial circumstances. The circumstances of each investor are different and you should seek advice from a financial planner who can consider if the strategies and products are right for you.