Sure, travel agents can find the perfect vacation for each customer, offer up perks and good deals, and even have your back when things go wrong. But who knew they could also buy you happiness? And that’s a scientific fact!
An article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled “Buying Time Promotes Happiness” reports that the happiest people in the world are those who can afford to pay for the most valuable commodity of all, free time.
“Around the world, increases in wealth have produced an unintended consequence: a rising sense of time scarcity,” the study’s abstract says. “We provide evidence that using money to buy time can provide a buffer against this time famine, thereby promoting happiness. Using large, diverse samples from the United States, Canada, Denmark, and The Netherlands (n?= 6,271), we show that individuals who spend money on time-saving services report greater life satisfaction.”
The authors report that their field experiment “provides causal evidence that working adults report greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase. Together, these results suggest that using money to buy time can protect people from the detrimental effects of time pressure on life satisfaction.”
In fact, they say, “We suggest that buying time may provide an alternate mechanism to receiving the support needed to cope with daily demands, such that the relationship between time stress and reduced life satisfaction should be attenuated among people who use money to access more time.”
So go ahead, travel agents, charge a fee. You are worth every penny. After all, in addition to a great vacation, you are selling the gift of time. And in this stressful age, that’s selling happiness by the jar.