Money Can't Buy Happiness, But it Can Buy Time

On CBS Sunday Morning, they ran a segment called Can Money Buy Happiness?.  The story highlighted the short-lived career of a young investment banker who was making a six-figure income right out of college.  And after five years he was burned out.  He ended up becoming a firefighter in Dallas and couldn’t be happier.  We all know that firefighters are not paid nearly enough for the danger they put themselves in for the people in their communities.

Long days.  Long hours and not enough time to do the things he really wanted to do.  That’s the story for many people and trying to “live the dream” but find themselves without time to really enjoy life because they’re chasing the next best thing; buying the latest technology.  The fanciest car with all the latest gadgets.

Add to that the demands of everyday life such as getting the children ready for school, getting meals on the table, doing laundry, shuttling children to and from extracurricular activities, running errands during any free time in between all those things.  Not to mention people who are taking care of their aging parents on top of everything else.

So what makes people happy?  Of course that’s all relative but stop and think about the last time you enjoyed having time to do what you really wanted to do.  And was that enough time to make you truly happy?

When you have time, sit down and calculate all the time you’ve spent running errands on a weekend that you really didn’t want to do.  Or spent time in lines only to be told you don’t have all the right documents.  Wouldn’t you have preferred spending that time with family and friends.  Or better yet, spend it on yourself by being pampered at a spa or on a great meal at your favorite restaurant?

As the CBS Sunday Morning show ended, Harvard Business School professor Ashley Whillans said “Participants who bought themselves time reported more joy, and less negative emotions.”  Think about it.

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