The happiest people value TIME over MONEY!

The happiest people value TIME over MONEY!

via Forbes by Brianna Wiest

The most obvious fact about work is that you spend time to get money. The idea being that the more money you have, the more secure you will be, and thus, the more happiness you will experience. But what if that premise was backwards? New research is arguing that’s the case. Instead of spending time to get money, truly happy people spend money to get time.

The research, which was reported on by the Harvard Business Review this week, surveyed a group of 100,000 working adults. Of them, it was consistent that those who were willing to give up earning more money in favor of regaining free time experienced “more fulfilling social relationships, more satisfying careers, and more joy,” and overall reported higher rates of general satisfaction.

What’s happening?

Study author Ashley Whillans posits that people who prioritize time over money — perhaps turning down a more time-consuming promotion, or outsourcing tasks — have a better quality of life. 

Whillans identifies this as something called “time affluence,” which is as it sounds: the luxury of simply having enough time to do the things you want. She and her team analyzed data from the Gallup Institute on this, and saw a clear pattern: people who have enough time are happier, less depressed, experience more joy, exercise more, eat better, are more productive, and are less likely to get divorced. 

However, it’s not only the undervaluation of time that damages our wellbeing. It’s also the underestimation of it. “We also suffer from future time slack, we believe we will have more time in the future than in the present moment,” Whillans tells me. “Stated differently, we discount our future time. Interestingly, the value of a $100 is pretty consistent regardless of whether we are thinking about it today, tomorrow, or next week. However, with time we steeply discount how much our future time is worth.”

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