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Does Money Buy Happiness?

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“People who think money can’t buy happiness might not be spending it right.”  So says UBC psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn, co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending.


Not what we are accustomed to hearing!   My first reaction in reading this quote is that Ms. Dunn is just trying to say something controversial to sell her new book.


Dunn and her UBC colleagues surveyed 2,000 millionaires and found that those with more than $10 million in assets were generally happier than those with less, but it wasn’t just because of the money.  Rather it was the experiences that they had been able to amass.


“Experiences make better stories.  Experiences connect us with other people.  They tend to be social and shared… with people we care about,” she says.


At this point, human nature kicked in and I thought – hmm, if I had more than $10 million in assets, what extra experiences would I be able to enjoy…


How can those of us without $10 million compete?


My conclusion:  save up for those ‘shared experiences’ we dream of.


I agree with the basis that happiness is about shared experiences.   These experiences vary remarkably in cost.  In my very unscientific observations, those who firstly, live within their means and secondly, enrich their lives with varied experiences seem to be the happiest.


The first part of that requires some regular savings and discipline which removes significant stress.  Budget for what you really want. The second part requires willingness to try new activities and sometimes the need to spend some money to do so.


As investment advisors, we are hardwired to help our clients create wealth.  What we, at Blair + Adrian Wealth Advisory, always strive to remember is that creating wealth is not the ultimate goal but rather a means to an end.  Our aim is to help our clients enrich their lives with meaningful experiences.


It is at moments like these that I wish our blog was open to discussion but unfortunately it is not.  Feel free to drop me a note to give me your thoughts!


PS:  My recent big thrill was to make one of my mum’s bucket list items a reality this past September.  To celebrate her 75th birthday my sister and I took her on an African safari.  For sure a trip of a lifetime and I feel so fortunate to have been able to share it with them.