American actress Bo Derek is even famously quoted as saying ‘Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping…’

The reasoning behind these assertions is that spending money on ‘things’ makes us happier because possessions last longer than experiences.   However, a celebrated study by psychology professor, Dr Thomas Gilovich, actually finds the opposite to be true – claiming that money will only increase our happiness up to a certain point.

The research outlines the fact that possessions, whilst exciting and stimulating at the time of purchase, quickly become part of our daily lives and subsequently become pale into insignificance.  Owning things can also see our stress levels rise, as we find ourselves having to find more space within our homes to accommodate our latest purchases, and also encourages feelings of jealousy and resentment as we continually try to ‘keep up with Joneses’.

What in fact makes us happy, so the study says, is experiences.  Spending our money on activities, pastimes, or hobbies, is much longer-lasting.  Through having the opportunity to enjoy experiences rather than belongings, we create memories, we build and develop social relationships, and we get introduced to new viewpoints, life lessons, and sensations.

A more recent study of millennials undertaken by the Harris Group supports this phenomenon, with 72% of respondents preferring to spend more money on experiences than on material things.  A whopping two thirds of those surveyed claimed to feel more fulfilled by experiences – even when faced with the opportunity of spending the same amount of money on a single item.  Interestingly too, 62% said that they planned to enhance their spending on experiences over the course of 12 months.

Experiences bring us happiness that lasts.  You’ll always remember that family holiday of a lifetime, your child’s first trip to a theme park, or the last festival or concert you went to.  These experiences enrich our lives, they’re good for our soul, and they give us memories that will never fade.

As an organisation dedicated to making people’s lives healthier and happier, these statistics are joy to our ears.  Being happy improves our overall health and wellbeing, and is one of the reasons why we’ve launched our dedicated Paycare Perks initiative – a scheme which offers discounts on those memory-making experiences – from cinema tickets and holidays to travel insurance and car hire.  All aimed at making enjoyment of those ‘life moments’ a little bit easier…

For more information on Paycare Perks and how you can benefit from discounted experiences, simply log in to your member area and click ‘Paycare Perks’