Study: Money Can't Buy Happiness

Yeah, this looks like happiness to me.

Yeah, this looks like happiness to me.

A new study from Cornell University says that personal experiences bring grater happiness than buying and owning things. Okay, so that’s probably something we’ve all believed and hoped to be true, but it’s certainly nice to have empirical evidence to back it up (thanks, science!).

A lot of the dissatisfaction with materialism comes from the stress induced by buyer’s remorse. It makes sense in today’s world, where new, “better” products are coming out all the time. People don’t stress out about experiences in the same way. For example:

Knowing about the features available on other cell phones is likely to influence one’s satisfaction with one’s own phone more than knowing about the bungalows available on other tropical beaches is likely to influence one’s satisfaction with one’s own tropical bungalow.

The study concludes: “From many angles, the pursuit of experiences over possessions seems to be the firmer path to happiness.” So I’d be happier relaxing on a tropical beach than buying an iPad? Well, at least the beach would probably be cheaper.

Full study via Unclutterer. Photo by ippei + janine.