Do you want to know the reason early retirees are happier? It’s not what you think. It’s not a stash of money providing financial independence. Nope. It’s the act of opting to have more time in our lives. More time to live our lives doing what we want to do. Not have to do.
It seems Happiness is higher for people who choose more time in their lives. Higher than people who want more money. That was the result of research recently published by Sage Journal -Social Psychological and Personality Science. This research covered all people, not just retirees.
“Money and time are both scarce resources that people believe would bring them greater happiness. But would people prefer having more money or more time? And how does one’s preference between resources relate to happiness? Across studies, we asked thousands of Americans whether they would prefer more money or more time. Although the majority of people chose more money, choosing more time was associated with greater happiness—even controlling for existing levels of available time and money. Additional studies and experiments provide insight into choosers’ underlying rationale and the causal direction of the effect.”
The researchers at UCLA and the Wharton School conducted their experiments and surveying of over 4,400 people. The results were that about two-thirds of the respondents claimed they would rather have more money than more time. But the interesting part of their results was that the people who instead opted to focus on more time were the happiest about their lives.
The study included all people. It wasn’t targeting early retirees. But the human happiness factor would definitely be shared. The point I am going to make is this. Know when enough is enough and then escape the rat race. Because it’s what we value that will ultimately make our life happier. Valuing Time is the answer to Happiness.
The Relationship of Money and Happiness
Not having enough money to cover our basic needs will make anyone very unhappy. No question about that. Studies have been done to support that money does give happiness. But there have been studies and research that found after $75,000 of income happiness doesn’t climb as it did up to that point. That relationship of money and happiness held up even into the highest level of the income spectrum.
Our happiness peaks once our needs are met. Higher amounts of money brought limited increased happiness.
My retirement budget is nowhere near the $75,000 income happiness limit. Yet my essential needs are met and I am very happy.