Spending that fits personality can boost well-being

Posted on April 9, 2016

Photo: flickr

The study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, revealed that people who spent more money on purchases that aligned with their personality traits reported greater life satisfaction. Spending-personality fit was more strongly associated with life satisfaction than were either total income or total spending.

The study was conducted by researchers at Cambridge Judge Business School and the Psychology Department of Cambridge University in collaboration with a UK-based multinational bank.

The study matched spending categories on the widely recognized "Big Five" personality traits--openness to experience (artistic versus traditional), conscientiousness (self-controlled vs easygoing), extraversion (outgoing vs reserved), agreeableness (compassionate vs competitive), and neuroticism (prone to stress vs stable).

For example, "eating out in pubs" was rated as an extroverted and low conscientiousness (impulsive) spending category, whereas "charities" and "pets" were rated as agreeable spending categories. Further examples can be found below.

And the data showed that those who bought products that more closely matched their personalities reported higher satisfaction with their lives, and this effect was stronger than that of their total income or total spending.

"Our findings suggest that spending money on products that help us express who we are as individuals could turn out to be as important to our well-being as finding the right job, the right neighborhood or even the right friends and partners," says Sandra Matz. "By developing a more nuanced understanding of the links between spending and happiness, we hope to be able to provide more personalized advice on how to find happiness through the little consumption choices we make every day."


Category(s):Happiness

Source material from Association for Psychological Science


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