PLACING AN EMPHASIS on the value of your time, as opposed to money, is linked to greater happiness, new research says.
In six studies with more than 4,600 participants, researchers found an almost even split between people who tended to value their time or money, and that choice was a fairly consistent trait both for daily interactions and major life events.
Lead researcher Ashley Whillans, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of British Columbia says that those who valued time were happier.
“It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making more money, and prioritising time is associated with greater happiness.”
Older people also were more likely to say they valued their time compared to younger people.
“As people age, they often want to spend time in more meaningful ways than just making money,” Whillans says.
Some of the studies used real-world examples, such as asking a participant whether he would prefer a more expensive apartment with a short commute or a less expensive apartment with a long commute. A participant also could choose between a graduate program that would lead to a job with long hours and a higher starting salary or a program that would result in a job with a lower salary but fewer hours.
“Having more free time is likely more important for happiness than having more money,” she said. “Even giving up a few hours of a paycheque to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier.”