For greater happiness, spend your money on 'life experiences' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

For greater happiness, spend your money on 'life experiences'

Updated: April 2, 2014 09:13 AM
© Jupiterimages / Pixland / Thinkstock © Jupiterimages / Pixland / Thinkstock
  • Health Connections - Featured Health SpecialistsHealth PartnersMore>>

  • Scott Pharmacy

    Scott Pharmacy


    Scott Pharmacy, Inc. is a privately owned and operated business that has served the residents of Fayette County for more than 30 years. We are loyal to our patients.
    More >>

    Scott Pharmacy, Inc. is a privately owned and operated business that has served the residents of Fayette County for more than 30 years. We are loyal to our patients and will ensure that your order is filled quickly and correctly.
    More >>
  • Cedar Valley Medical Specialists

    Cedar Valley Medical Specialists


    Cedar Valley Medical Specialists, P.C. represents more than 60 providers in 20+ medical fields. By working together, the professional providers of Cedar Valley Medical Specialists, P.C. have focused our delivery
    More >>
    Cedar Valley Medical Specialists, P.C. represents more than 60 providers in 20+ medical fields. By working together, the professional providers of Cedar Valley Medical Specialists, P.C. have focused our delivery of quality healthcare on you and your family.More >>

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Buying so-called "life experiences" makes Americans happier than material goods such as cars, but they tend to favor the latter in the mistaken belief that they provide better value, according to a new study.

Researchers interviewed people before and after they made purchases and found that consumers felt life experiences -- like a weekend trip -- made them happier and were a better use of money than material items.

"People actually do know, and accurately predict, that life experiences will make them happier," study co-author Ryan Howell, an associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, said in a university news release.

"What they really underestimate is how much monetary value they will get out of a life experience," he added. "Even though they're told experiences will make them happier and they know experiences will make them happier, they still perceive material items as being a better value."

Part of the reason for this is that life experiences offer only memories, while people know the actual value of their material goods, said Howell, who has done extensive research on spending and happiness.

"We naturally associate economic value with stuff. I bought this car, it's worth $8,000," he explained. "We have a hard time estimating the economic value we would place on our memories."

The importance of this line of research goes far beyond shopping, according to the authors.

"Happiness is not some fleeting, positive emotion we experience in the moment," Howell said.

"There are tremendous benefits to happiness. Companies want their employers to be happier because they are more productive. Doctors want their patients to be happier because they will be healthier. We should try to figure out how to help people maximize their happiness because of all the benefits that come from it," he concluded.

The study was published online recently in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

More information

Mental Health America offers tips on how to live your life well.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KWWL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.