Putting greater value on your time than your money is linked to more happiness, a new study finds.
Slightly over half of the participants in the study valued their time over their money.
The remainder valued their money over their time.
The conclusions come from six studies with over 4,600 people.
Ms Ashley Whillans, who led the research, 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.”
The older people were, the more likely they were to value their time.
Ms Whillans said:
“As people age, they often want to spend time in more meaningful ways than just making money.”
People were given a series of scenarios that pitted time against money.
For example, they were asked to choose between having a more expensive apartment and shorter commute or cheaper apartment and longer commute.
Or, they were asked: would you choose a job with longer hours and higher starting salary or lower hours and lower starting salary.
While both of these are major decisions for most people, the time/money split also held for more everyday decisions.
Neither people’s income nor gender affected whether they were more swayed by time or money.
However, people at the very bottom end of the income spectrum were not included in the research.
Some people may have to prioritise money in order to survive.
Ms Whillans said:
“Having more free time is likely more important for happiness than having more money.
Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier.”
There are all sorts of little change which could help
The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science (Whillans et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Time money image from Shutterstock