Why Do Rich and Happy People Buy More Experiences Than Things?

Updated: April 24, 2018

Do you remember buying your first smart phone? You were probably ecstatic when you first held it. Fast-forward to a year after you bought it. Are you just as excited as before? Probably not.

So why does our happiness from buying new things always fade?

I may not know the answer, but there’s one thing I’ve observed. And that’s how truly rich and happy people buy more experiences than things.

Here are 3 reasons that I discovered why truly successful people prefer experiences vs things.

Reason #1: To Be Content – Buy Less Stuff and Save More

University of British Columbia professor Elizabeth Dunn quotes in her book “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending” that abundance is the enemy of appreciation.

Increasing our income makes it easier to buy things and have experiences that we never had before. So when we buy or experience these more often, we get used to them. In turn, this lessens our appreciation for the little things.

In other words, we take our new smart phone for granted because we use it every day. So now, how can we minimize taking things for granted? The answers are:

  • Don’t overindulge yourself
  • Be grateful and count your blessings
  • Being content gives you another important benefit: savings. For example, when dining with friends, choose simple dinners over fancy ones. Doing so would save you more money for investments.

    Reason #2: To Be Joyful – Spend More Time with Family and Friends

    Online Marketing guru and serial entrepreneur, Neil Patel, traded his luxurious lifestyle for real happiness. When he became financially free, he learned that he was not yet successful.

    He thought he could be happier by buying such things as a helicopter and luxury condos, eating in fancy restaurants, or wearing expensive watches and designer clothes.

    But he still felt empty. His euphoria from purchasing expensive things was always fleeting. And then, he found real happiness by spending more quality time with his family.

    At 21 years-old, he lost all of his money on his first business. He was consoled by his parents, not by his helicopter. He was truly happy when they were there for him.

    So he keeps to heart why he pursues financial freedom: to give his hard-working parents a secure and early retirement.

    Ironically, he is now more joyful by having a simple lifestyle. He sold his expensive possessions, except his condos, which he uses as financial investments.

    By cutting back, he does not have to worry about fleeting happiness and unnecessary expenses. This allows him to focus more on his businesses and passions, ensuring his financial security and fulfillment.

    At the end of the day, spending more quality time with your family and friends gives you a full life.

    Reason #3: To Grow Yourself – Learn from New Experiences

    Cornell University psychology professor Thomas Gilovich suggests that we should share new experiences with family and friends because this strengthens our relationships.

    Our activities together form fond memories with them, which we may keep throughout our lifetime. If you had vacation with family or friends, you will always remember and talk about it – long after you dispose your smart phone.

    What’s the lesson?

    Spending on learning experiences. This will grow you as person. Your personal growth is more valuable than any money in the world.

    So instead buying more things that we do not need, we should educate ourselves on financial wisdom through discipline, business, and investments.

    With enough savings, you could learn to start a water refilling station business perhaps. Or with enough patience, you could reap the benefits of investing your money.

    To sum up:

    Spend less on things and have more quality time with family and friends. Though money is important, growing yourself is your best investment to achieve real happiness.

    This article is written and submitted by Sean General. He is the Associate Editor of the website, SDGchannel.com.

    What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy
    Photo credits: homepicture.in, Neil Patel (Facebook), and Playbuzz.com

    One comment

    1. This is a good reminder. Indeed, our expensive things won’t be able to console us when we’re lonely.

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