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Good question.  Can money really buy happiness? My automatic response used to be, of course not.  Happiness can’t be bought! Then I’d think about it again.  I suppose money can provide opportunities that lead to happiness. Not to mention that if you look around it seems like most of us are chasing after happiness with our money.  So if it’s not possible, then why is everyone trying so hard to buy happiness? There must be some correlation.

Let’s explore it a little.

A recently published study by researchers at the University of Cambridge showed that the way we spend our money can directly impact our happiness.

Joe Gladstone, Research Associate at Cambridge Judge Business School and one the authors of the study says, “Spending can increase our happiness when it is spent on goods and services that fit our personalities and so meet our psychological needs.”

How we spend our money can directly impact our happiness.

The study matched participants’ actual bank transactions with personality traits and found that individuals spend more on products that match their personality, and that people whose purchases better match their personality report higher levels of life satisfaction. This effect of psychological fit on happiness was stronger than the effect of individuals’ total income or the effect of their total spending.

“Our findings suggest that spending money on products that help us express who we are as individuals could turn out to be as important to our well-being as finding the right job, the right neighborhood or even the right friends and partners,” stated Sandra Matz a PhD candidate in Cambridge’s Department of Psychology. “By developing a more nuanced understanding of the links between spending and happiness, we hope to be able to provide more personalized advice on how to find happiness through the little consumption choices we make every day.”

Spending in ways that align with who we are as individuals may have a stronger impact on our happiness than our total income and may be as important to our well-being as finding work we enjoy, being with people we love, living healthy and connecting within a community.

The implications of this study have me unbelievably excited!

Through my own experiences working with clients I’ve come to believe that when we allocate our resources, spending money in areas that matter most to us, reflect our personality, and are in line with our authentic selves we find more satisfaction. Our overall wellbeing increases despite our level of spending or income amounts. It takes us out of that place of feeling that we never have enough. The more we’re able to tune into what’s important and who we authentically are, we’re able to be more conscious of our spending and align it with our values.

When we allocate our resources, spending money in areas that matter most to us, reflect our personality, and are in line with our authentic selves we find more satisfaction.

Over the last few years I’ve been working on ways to help clients become more aware of what they value so they can become more intentional about aligning their spending with those values. One of tools I’ve been developing has been a values assessment which identifies 18 personal value types and then ranks them based on responses to 54 scaled statements.  It’s designed to help you differentiate your values based on how you actually live versus what you may “think” is important.

I invite you to take the assessment to help you become more aware of your own values and what’s truly important to you. Once you gain some clarity on your values, you can begin to direct your resources in ways that truly nurture what you value most.

Click here to take the assessment.

iValue Assessment button

See more about the Cambridge study at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/spending-for-smiles-money-can-buy-happiness-after-all#sthash.giOwpUwY.dpuf