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26.07.2017

Buying time promotes happiness

New research is challenging the old adage that money cannot buy happiness. The study, led by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School, suggests that using money to buy free time – such as paying to delegate household chores like cleaning and cooking or going on holidays – is linked to greater life satisfaction.

The researchers surveyed more than 6,000 adults in the United States, Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands. Respondents were asked if and how much they spent each month to buy themselves free time. They also rated their life satisfaction, and answered questions about feelings of time stress.

Respondents who spent money on time saving purchases reported greater life satisfaction. The effect held up even after controlling for income.

"The benefits of buying time aren't just for wealthy people," said University of British Columbia psychology professor and the study's senior author Elizabeth Dunn. "We thought the effects might only hold up for people with quite a bit of disposable income, but to our surprise, we found the same effects across the income spectrum."

"Although buying time can serve as a buffer against the time pressures of daily life, few people are doing it even when they can afford it," said Dunn. "Lots of research has shown that people benefit from buying their way into pleasant experiences, but our research suggests people should also consider buying their way out of unpleasant experiences."

This new study supplies more cogent arguments for coach holiday marketing and sales, in that holiday spend or indeed additional holiday spend can lead to greater life satisfaction, a reduction in unhealthy time pressures and stress levels and – as a result – to a greater quality of personal life.

Further information: http://m.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/18/1706541114.full

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