Financial Resolution for 2018: Buy More Time!

When the New Year rolls around, many of us focus on making financial resolutions. These goals often include things like getting out of debt, saving more or negotiating a higher salary. These are all worthy endeavors and they all have something in common: The result of achieving any of these goals is reduced stress and happiness. But the fact is, limiting stress in your life can actually mean spending a little more money, too.

The results of a study published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, suggests that spending money to save time instead of making material purchases can reduce stress and improve overall happiness. The study maintains that despite rising incomes in developed countries like the United States, Canada, Denmark, and The Netherlands, people feel increasingly impoverished when it comes to time:

Despite rising incomes, people around the world are feeling increasingly pressed for time, undermining well-being. We show that the ‘time famine’ of modern life can be reduced by using money to buy time. Surveys of large, diverse samples from four countries reveal that spending money on time-saving services is linked to greater life satisfaction. To establish causality, we show that working adults report greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase. This research reveals a previously unexamined route from wealth to well-being: spending money to buy free time.”

The lead author of the study, Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, said “People who spent money to buy themselves time, such as by outsourcing disliked tasks, reported greater overall life satisfaction.” Regardless of income, people who outsourced things like housecleaning, yardwork or ordering takeout reported more overall happiness. The study also indicates that spending money to delegate duties as a time-saving strategy especially benefits women who work all day and feel like they come home to a “second shift” of housecleaning and other chores.

Despite these revelations, many people who can easily afford outsourcing these duties, often don’t. The common reason given for not having others perform these tasks is to avoid laziness. The research, however, suggests it’s important to think of these solutions as your personal stress-reducer, your “escape hatch from the excessive time pressure of modern life.” You’re not lazy, you are time-deprived! There is a difference.

If you have questions or would like to discuss financial issues or review your financial plan for 2018, call Wood Financial Group in Brentwood, Tennessee at (615) 221-0927.