Life is often a series of tradeoffs between time and money, so it understandably has a powerful effect on our behaviour. Money is often cited as a stress inducing aspect of life. Both money and time are scarce resources people believe will bring more happiness to their life. In a study by University of California, whilst 64% of those surveyed preferred money over time, greater happiness was associated with those who chose more time. Of those choosing more time they were generally:
- Older: which suggests as we age, we get more satisfaction from valuing our time over money (most likely having worked a lifetime to create the money); and
- Parents: which suggests children change our values on the time money equation
The study went on to note:
- What matters most is the value people place on each resource.
- Happiness is generally linked to more about what we ‘want’ (in the future).
- The reality is whilst money goes up and down, time only goes and never ever comes back.
- Individuals generally identify as a predominate time first mindset or, a money first mindset.
- Those who have been a predominate money first mindset for many years (working to build security for the family) often then find it very difficult to move to a time first mindset.
- With more time, one can plan to better use it.
- Time, unlike money, is absolutely in one’s control.
When life presents its next tough decision between having more time or more money, which option will lead to greater happiness and a less stressful life? Is there merit in considering and maintaining a time budget as well as a money budget?