Finding Financial Contentment: Why You Should Buy Experiences Over Things

Discover the transformative power of finding financial contentment and enduring happiness by buying experiences over things.
Picture of Scott Hohman, CFP®, AIF®

Scott Hohman, CFP®, AIF®

It’s a fundamental aspect of human nature to seek self-fulfillment and genuine happiness. Of course, the pursuit of these ideals has posed a somewhat elusive question: can buying things bring financial contentment and happiness? Well, in some ways, it might. In this article, we’ll explore the impact of prioritizing experiences over things as you search for financial success and personal fulfillment on your journey.

Does Buying Things Bring Lasting Happiness?

At various points in our lives, we may believe that acquiring a particularly attractive item will bring us happiness – and sometimes it does, albeit temporarily. The rush of dopamine in the brain associated with obtaining that coveted possession creates a fleeting sense of reward. However, this feeling quickly fades, as material items lack the ability to provide long-term financial contentment.

The Transformative Power of Buying Experiences Over Things

If the meaning associated with material items fades quickly, experiences stick with us long-term. Experiences play a significant role in shaping who we are, far more than possessions can. Opting for experiences that can help us to find financial contentment and happiness is a choice worth considering.

We are molded by our experiences, with every place visited, every activity undertaken, and every sight witnessed contributing to our identity. While possessions may reflect our identity to some extent, they remain external. Experiences, on the other hand, are internalized. They become integral parts of our memories, evoking emotions and altering our perspectives.

When you consider what you get in return for buying an item, also take a moment to reflect on the return you gained from spending your money on an experience. You may likely find that the experiences you have engaged in have provided much more long-term contentment and personal enrichment. There is even evidence that supports that buying experiences over things improves overall well-being and can result in higher levels of financial contentment.

SEE ALSO: Do You Need to Adjust Your Retirement Mindset?

The Enduring Happiness of Experiences Over Things

Research indicates that spending on experiences leads to more enduring happiness and financial contentment. The anticipation and actual enjoyment of experiences, coupled with the cumulative build-up of excitement, contribute to long-term happiness and financial contentment. This contrasts with the anticipation for a possession, which can sometimes result in impatience rather than genuine excitement.

Sharing Joy and Maximizing the Impact of Experiences Over Things

Experiences have the potential to be life-changing, opening our eyes to the wonders of the world and influencing our self-perception. Investing in experiences that involve others enhances the impact and meaning, creating enduring shared memories.

For that reason, experiences shared with others tend to have the most significant impact. Consider activities you enjoy, such as hiking or going to the theater. While these experiences alone may bring happiness, sharing them with loved ones strengthens relationships and creates lasting memories, enhancing the enduring impact.

SEE ALSO: Ask Yourself These Questions to Clarify Your Retirement Lifestyle Goals

Final Thoughts: Prioritizing Experiences for Financial Contentment

Every day, we get the opportunity to make choices with our money. Beyond the financial aspect, the decisions we make offer opportunities for lasting contentment. That’s why it’s helpful to remember that intentionally choosing experiences over things can lead to greater long-term happiness. While the trendiest fashion item may provide momentary satisfaction, reflecting on past experiences, such as family gatherings or a trip with your best friend, likely evokes feelings of joy and wonder—lasting impressions with enduring significance.

Your work towards finding financial contentment can lead you towards a more enriching life when you choose to buy experiences over things. At Resolute Wealth Advisor, our team of professionals is prepared to help you create a financial strategy that is specifically tailored to your needs to achieve the meaningful experiences you aspire to. Contact us today, and let us help you on your way.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Resolute Wealth Advisor, Inc. (RWA). The views are subject to change and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. This material is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. Stated information is derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources that have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness. While RWA believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Statements of future expectations, estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements are based on available information and the RWA’s view as of the time of these statements. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Investing in equity securities involves risks, including the potential loss of principal. While equities may offer the potential for greater long-term growth than most debt securities, they generally have higher volatility. International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles, or from economic or political instability in other nations. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

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