Study: Is time more important than money?

Retirees more likely to value time than younger people

New research published in the Society of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that valuing time over money can be linked to greater overall happiness, Jareen Imam writes for CNN.

Over a year and a half, six studies surveyed over 4,600 of participants on which was more important to them: time or money? Researchers analyzed small, daily decisions that can add up—such as taking a toll road to work, costing a few dollars a day but cutting down on traffic and travel time.

The study did not include people at the poverty level, because "we wanted to learn about working adults who could go after money or choose not to," says lead researcher Ashley Whillans.

Turns out money can buy happiness—if you spend it wisely

According to Whillans, people tend to say they value time more than money, which she attributes to cultural pressures. But her analysis found that across all demographics there was only a slight majority of people who valued time over money. People who were retired or approaching retirement were the most likely to value time more than money, whereas younger participants were the most likely to value money.

Many believe that money alone can't make a person happy, but other studies have shown that the truth may be more nuanced. People become happier when they spend their money on experiences, such as dinner with friends, rather than tangible objects.

"Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier," Whillans says (Imam, CNN, 1/9).

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