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Study: Contrary to expectations, life experiences better use of money than material items

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posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 09:07 AM
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Found this interesting study in phys.org:


Despite knowing that buying life experiences will make them happier than buying material items, shoppers might continue to spend money on the latter because they mistakenly believe items are a better value, according to a San Francisco State University study published today. That belief, however, isn't accurate.

"People actually do know, and accurately predict, that life experiences will make them happier," said SF State Associate Professor of Psychology Ryan Howell, a co-author of the study who has extensively researched the link between spending and happiness. "What they really underestimate is how much monetary value they will get out of a life experience. Even though they're told experiences will make them happier and they know experiences will make them happier, they still perceive material items as being a better value."

Part of the reason, Howell suggests, is that material items are a tangible reminder of what the item is worth. Life experiences produce only memories, which can be harder to put a price tag on.

"We naturally associate economic value with stuff. I bought this car, it's worth $8,000," he said. "We have a hard time estimating the economic value we would place on our memories."


Read full article at: medicalxpress.com...

Interesting study, I personally do fully agree with the results. Experiences are something that is highly undervalued in the society. Going travelling, going to some seminar, just attending some event (concert, sports, whatever), anything like that, at the end creates emotions far more powerful than any material item can ever give.

Even if I got a Ferrari or something, the emotion would fade away quite fast. On the other, the emotions from different experiences can also be worth significantly more than material items. Every experience gives you something more and all these add up in the long run, boosting oneself as a person. The inspiration lead to significantly higher productivity as well as meeting the new people from different cultures, seeing the different places around the world - all that gives an advantage over other employees. At the same time, being "happier" leads to being generally more motivated, less under stress, healthier, which also translates into financial benefits.

Happyness generally is something that I believe should be taken far more seriously at any company. The ones who understand that salary by itself is only part of the "formula", who understand that the additional costs spent on employees, creating a workplace where people want to work at, the productivity boost gotten from all it, outweighs any costs made on making such things happen, are the winners at the end. Just looking at people as number, as costs, might be cost-effective in short-term, but will be detrimental to any company in the long run, especially in the 21st century.
edit on 2-4-2014 by Cabin because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 09:43 AM
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reply to post by Cabin
 


Great topic, and I totally agree. I wouldn't trade any of my major life experiences for a great deal of money. And, of course, I'll always have Vegas (and will have it again soon!).



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 09:45 AM
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reply to post by Cabin
 


A fun work environment is everything!
At my previous business I let everyone do and design their cubes however they felt. It was not in the public area and when you give workers this power they tend to treat their area like an extension of their own home, thus keeping it cleaner and better organized. Also everyone, no matter what position they held, had a seat on office meetings. It was very democratic and I often found best answers from the most unexpected unassuming people. The cafe area was the best, we had 3 flat screens, couches, a PS3, coffee table video arcade and air hockey all purchased by myself and my employees taken from our equal system of profit sharing. Everyone dictates their own level of involvement. Funny how in the long run the ones that I hired that were only looking for a paycheck tended to be the ones that left or quit the quickest.
I wanted to create a work environment that I always dreamed I would love to work in. It was very successful and I would give anything to be able to do it again someday.

There is no way to put a monetary price on experiences or items, you never know what will be valuable or when. I bought a used Porsche GT2 that was expensive but the car created the experiences because there was no feeling quite as exhilarating as shooting from 0-200mph on a long stretch of road knowing even a rock would vaporize the car and me at any second.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 09:47 AM
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I agree with what they and you are saying but it really is a two way street.

I can get some happiness out of buying camping gear and in turn get more happiness out of the camping experience.

Sure you can take a walk for free but I would rather be happy buying the ferrari you mention, and then the life experience of screaming down a deserted highway.

I guess I'm saying that their aren't too many life experiences that can be obtained without first the purchase of some type of "material" item.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 09:51 AM
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They actually had to do a study to come to that conclusion?
My 11 yr old daughter has been to times square, the statue of liberty, the liberty bell and toured the white house and Capitol building. Yet she does not have a smart phone. Wonder what she will remember when she is 60?



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 09:53 AM
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This is totally fascinating! I just read it to my 11 year old..I really hope it sinks in.

I wonder if age plays a part in the decision on which to choose. - the intangible experience or the material object?



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 10:11 AM
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Excellent thread,and I completely agree. I have spent most of my life as a cheapskate when it comes to material things. Partially out of necessity,and partially because I trained myself to value items based on raw material cost,and how much I really needed it,or just wanted it. I rarely buy much new. As for experiences,to me,you can't take anything with you when you die...so he who has the most toys wins what???? I get more happiness looking at the first seashell I picked up off my first walk on an Atlantic beach,than anything I have ever purchased brand new. I just wish I could drill this truth into my extremely materialistic eldest children.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 10:19 AM
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Cabin
Found this interesting study in phys.org:


Despite knowing that buying life experiences will make them happier than buying material items, shoppers might continue to spend money on the latter because they mistakenly believe items are a better value, according to a San Francisco State University study published today. That belief, however, isn't accurate.

"People actually do know, and accurately predict, that life experiences will make them happier," said SF State Associate Professor of Psychology Ryan Howell, a co-author of the study who has extensively researched the link between spending and happiness. "What they really underestimate is how much monetary value they will get out of a life experience. Even though they're told experiences will make them happier and they know experiences will make them happier, they still perceive material items as being a better value."

Part of the reason, Howell suggests, is that material items are a tangible reminder of what the item is worth. Life experiences produce only memories, which can be harder to put a price tag on.

"We naturally associate economic value with stuff. I bought this car, it's worth $8,000," he said. "We have a hard time estimating the economic value we would place on our memories."


Read full article at: medicalxpress.com...

Interesting study, I personally do fully agree with the results. Experiences are something that is highly undervalued in the society. Going travelling, going to some seminar, just attending some event (concert, sports, whatever), anything like that, at the end creates emotions far more powerful than any material item can ever give.

Even if I got a Ferrari or something, the emotion would fade away quite fast. On the other, the emotions from different experiences can also be worth significantly more than material items. Every experience gives you something more and all these add up in the long run, boosting oneself as a person. The inspiration lead to significantly higher productivity as well as meeting the new people from different cultures, seeing the different places around the world - all that gives an advantage over other employees. At the same time, being "happier" leads to being generally more motivated, less under stress, healthier, which also translates into financial benefits.

Happyness generally is something that I believe should be taken far more seriously at any company. The ones who understand that salary by itself is only part of the "formula", who understand that the additional costs spent on employees, creating a workplace where people want to work at, the productivity boost gotten from all it, outweighs any costs made on making such things happen, are the winners at the end. Just looking at people as number, as costs, might be cost-effective in short-term, but will be detrimental to any company in the long run, especially in the 21st century.
edit on 2-4-2014 by Cabin because: (no reason given)


I think the "price" tag for a trip to a paradise island will help you put a value on your experience (plane ticket, hotels, etc). But I also agree with the article too.
Firepiston



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 10:20 AM
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How on earth is this "contrary to expectations." Did the researchers really go into this thinking material items were a better investment than life experience?

By that logic, instead of attending a university, just buy a faster computer so you can google better, LOL! Instead of going on vacation to an exotic locale, just buy a more comfortable couch and a bigger TV.

I get that the researchers are saying people have a hard time valuing an intangible item, but it still sounds stupid when they phrase it like that.
edit on 2-4-2014 by 3shadesofblack because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 10:27 AM
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reply to post by tinner07
 


On some occasions, the purchase itself can be an intangible life experience. I have never bought a Ferrari, but I would guess that buying your first one is quite an experience. So is buying your first house, first suit, first business, etc.

For something like that, the actual purchase might outweigh what later becomes mundane, like driving the Ferrari in city traffic, or going home from work. Just going home from work isn't all that exciting after the first few days in the new house, and I'm sure sitting in a traffic jam in a Ferrari is less comfortable than sitting there in my F250, LOL!

If buying a 50" TV means my buddies will come over and watch more football, then it is a means to an end, but the process of dealing with idiots in Best Buy to actually buy the TV is excruciating! I can't imagine buying the TV is ever a better experience than watching the Superbowl with my buddies.

I guess it is all relative, but folks really do need to learn to value life experiences..... even the bad ones. I remember, and I value every ER visit I've ever made. Lots of life lessons there. I remember every funeral I've ever attended. You can't buy those experiences.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 11:57 AM
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What would really make people happy is for there to be no money.
Then people don't have to spend their lives working for chump change just to survive.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 12:27 PM
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reply to post by Cabin
 


I think kids know fun is better than stuff - it's adults who get confused about life's real payoffs.

F&S&



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 01:45 PM
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I would definately sell some of the memories I have for a few pennies and maybe a skittle or 2..

You know like the last 15 yrs of my political views.. God those suck..

Or the time i had after 9/11 learning how the world really works..

But i do have some good ones that cant put a tag on..

It is what makes us us.. The things we have seen and did..



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 03:01 PM
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Really depends if the material item give you a good life experience does it not and if you are an introvert or extrovert person.

For instance will an entertainment center be more enjoyable for you in the long run (and stimulating to the mind depending of the subject you choose to see thru the entertainment center), than a one week trip to an sunny island.

The conspiracy nut in me is wondering if this is a research finding funded by the tourism industry.


edit on 2-4-2014 by LittleByLittle because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 03:04 PM
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reply to post by 3shadesofblack
 


I was just thinking that books are a balance. I can and do read my books over and over. Each time is another intangible experience of that great story. I would far rather spend money on a book than almost any other material object.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 03:09 PM
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reply to post by ketsuko
 


I agree! They are a great balance. Sort of a purchase of information and/or imagination which is really an intangible, even though the book can be possessed, the information inside has to be experienced.

I was also thinking about the poster above that said he would sell his experiences for a few cents or skittles. That is exactly what book does! A person can recount and sell their experiences (real or imagined) for others to experience as well.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 03:13 PM
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ketsuko
reply to post by 3shadesofblack
 


I was just thinking that books are a balance. I can and do read my books over and over. Each time is another intangible experience of that great story. I would far rather spend money on a book than almost any other material object.



It is the same thing with many different media (films, tv-series, computer games, books, esoteric knowledge). The you that experiences the media have changed and therefor the experience shifts and you might find hidden information that you have not seen before. Some people are masters on fractal communication where things are said on many different levels at the same time choosing the perfect words to convey knowledge.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 03:16 PM
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reply to post by ketsuko
 


Definitely a true statement. Books are my vice,and I gravitate to them like some women do to shoes. Mind you, I still prefer to haunt used book stores.



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 04:35 PM
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reply to post by AccessDenied
 


Yes, my husband definitely cringes when he hears me say, "So, I went to the book store ..."



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 05:00 PM
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ketsuko
reply to post by AccessDenied
 


Yes, my husband definitely cringes when he hears me say, "So, I went to the book store ..."


Mine is cringing because I have circled a date in May when there is a charity book sale every year where I know for sure I will be buying a years worth of reading material for myself and the kids. Easily 3 large boxes will be carted home that day. Just like Christmas to me!




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