What Should You Choose: Time or Money?

Posted on September 20, 2016

For a research project, this question was put to more than 4,000 Americans of different ages, income levels, occupations and marital and parental status. The findings were published in a paper in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, where it was found that most people valued money more than time. Sixty-four percent of the 4,415 people asked in five surveys chose money.

Is money the right choice? Survey respondents were also asked to report their level of happiness and life satisfaction. On average, the people who chose time were statistically happier and more satisfied with life than the people who chose money.

So money may turn out to be the wrong choice.

But maybe this result simply shows that the people who chose money are more financially constrained and therefore less happy. To check this, respondents were also asked to report their annual household income along with the number of hours they work each week (to measure how much time they have).

Even when the amount of leisure time and money respondents had (as well as their age, gender, marital status, parental status and the extent to which they valued material possessions) were held constant, the people who chose time over money were still happier. So if we were to take two people who were otherwise the same, the one who chose time over money would be happier than the one who chose money over time.

The research isn't claiming that having more of either resource is better or worse for happiness. Other research examined the relationship between wealth and happiness and suggested, for example, that more income is positively related to happiness up to a certain point ($75,000, in the United States) and that life satisfaction continues to increase with income beyond that point.

But the current findings do show that the value individuals place on these resources relative to each other is predictive of happiness.

Why? The people in these studies who chose time over money thought about the resources differently and had different intentions for how they would spend the time or money gained. Unlike those who chose money, who were more likely to be fixated on not having enough, people who chose time focused more on how they would spend it, planning to "spend" on wants rather than needs (e.g., cultivating a hobby versus completing chores at home) and on other people rather than themselves - two expenditures that have previously been linked to elevated levels of happiness.

To read the full article, click on the link below.


Category(s):Happiness, Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance

Source material from New York Times


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