Do you like to spend money on nice things or vacations?
A recent article in the New York Times, shows that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses.
I completely agree with this statement which is why my husband and I moved our family to Belize in 2004, for one year. These were the days of conspicuous consumption when some parents in our neighborhood purchased a flashy new BMW, Mustang or large truck for their son or daughter, on their sixteenth birthday. We did not want our sons to think they were entitled to such material possessions, as did many of their peers. So we escaped to live a simple life in Belize where adventure and new experiences became part of our daily life.
There seems to be a new trend in the U.S., according to retailers, where “consumers have gravitated more toward experiences than possessions over the last couple of years, opting to use their extra cash for nights at home with family, watching movies and playing games.”
I think this is wonderful news, as far as getting families to spend more time bonding, than out spending. Jennifer Black, president of the retailing research company Jennifer Black & Associates says, “I think people are realizing they don’t need what they had. They’re more interested in creating memories.”
If we look back at our lives, what do we treasure most?
It’s sad to see that it takes a recession to make some people realize that spending time with family and friends means more than purchasing an electronic gizmo.
I don’t think the “I want it now” generation has been happy acquiring more stuff. Research shows that anticipation increases happiness.
As far as memories go, how many of you remember the bad things that happened on your trip abroad that later become your most exciting travel tale? I remember, at thirteen, getting stuck in an elevator in Budapest, Hungary, with my best friend. Although terrified at the time, we laugh about it today.
We need to get back to basics; memories, experiences, reconnecting with family, friends and community. I wonder what long-term consequences this will this have on a U.S. economy which relies on consumer spending to grow?