Money doesn’t buy happiness, but spare time does according to researchers

Researchers say hiring someone to do unpleasant chores could help people balance their time
Researchers say hiring someone to do unpleasant chores could help people balance their time

Paying for a cleaner or someone to cut the grass leads to greater happiness than saving the pennies, according to new research.

It suggests that valuing your time ahead of the pursuit of money creates more joy.

In six separate studies, involving more than 4,600 participants, there was an almost even split between people who tended to value their time or money.

And older people were more likely to value time as more important than money.

Gender and income didn’t appear to influence whether we pick time over money, but none of the participants involved were living in poverty, who may prioritise money to survive.

The six studies included posing real-world examples for participants, such as asking whether they would prefer a more expensive apartment with a short commute or a less expensive apartment with a long commute.

Other questions posed included whether a participant would prefer a job with long hours and a higher starting salary to a lower salary role but with fewer working hours.

The participants included a selection of American adults, students and adult visitors at a science museum in Vancouver.

The researchers say hiring a cleaner to do unpleasant chores and volunteering at a charity could help us on our way to prioritising time over money.

PhD student Ashley Willians, of the University of British Columbia in Canada, said: “It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making more money, and prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness.

“If people want to focus more on their time and less on money in their lives, they could take some actions to help shift their perspective, such as working slightly fewer hours, paying someone to do disliked chores like cleaning the house, or volunteering with a charity.

“While some options might be available only for people with disposable income, even small changes could make a big difference.”

The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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