Are Experiences Worth More Than Material Things?

We’ve all heard the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.” In many ways, I believe this is true! However, what if we readjusted our thinking to see that money can, in fact, allow us the chance to have experiences that we otherwise may not be able to pursue, leading us to greater happiness? As a Financial Advisor who believes in having the chance to Retire While Your Work (I know what you’re thinking…’Nice plug, David!’), I am a huge advocate for creating a healthy balance between saving and spending!

An article in Money Magazine got me thinking about the topic of just how important it may be to our overall happiness to spend money on experiences versus material things. This article talks about how many of us have heard about the health benefits of practicing gratitude and how it can improve our overall health. Practicing the expression of gratitude for positive experiences that we have can actual boost our mood and help lower stress. Most inspirationally, it can help promote behavior of being more generous to others!

One of my favorite stories of success from our firm is about a Grandmother who was nervous from a financial standpoint to take her Grandkids to Disney World. The team and I reassured her that with a little careful planning and budgeting, she could absolutely pull the trip off and feel confident! This allowed her to focus on the memories made with her Grandkids instead of the amount of money being used for the trip. She cried tears of joy at the freedom she felt when she left the meeting and came back saying that she didn’t regret a penny spent- the experiences were worth it! I don’t know about you, but there have been very few times that I have felt any regret – financially-speaking or other – once a vacation is done and paid for.

Back to that article, it was found that experience-based purchases were shown to elicit more gratitude because they don’t trigger as many social comparisons like possessions do…think about it….you buy a new car, but then someone else buys a luxury car and it kills your mojo…experiences foster an appreciation of your own circumstances, rather than feelings of falling short or trying to measure up to others.

NO, I’m not saying go crazy spending, ignore saving your money, and blow it all on travel. Most people reading this or coming to our office are on the same page with that. But, we all want to live better and feel more fulfilled and having a more experience-focused mindset is a way to help do that! So for a takeaway: journal and write down things you are grateful for, pay it forward, and think of ways you can create unique experiences with friends and family, while encouraging others to do the same.

After all, life is really about relationships and connections made, not money. Money is important to having confidence and a sense of security, but it can’t bring happiness the way experiences can.

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The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of David Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct.

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