Money, whether you like it or not, can buy happiness. Is it better being poor and healthy or rich and sick? I believe the healthy and rich is the better option and I bet you do too.
A recent research has looked for the link between money and happiness and has found out that we can indeed buy happiness, but we get the happiness when we spend our money on someone else.
In the research, students in Vancouver received $5 or $20 and were instructed to spend everything. Half of them were asked to spend it on themselves and the other half were asked to spend it on others. When their happiness level was checked after they have spent their money (surprise, surprise), the second group, having spent money on others, was much happier than the first group.
Giving money, volunteering your time and your expertise and doing random acts of kindness were found to be wonderful promoters of happiness in the givers.
Once, I discussed giving with a group of high school students and asked them what they would get in return for taking their old clothes and giving them to the Salvation Army or some other charity. It took them a while to figure it out, and finally said that the real return was a great feeling of making a difference.
Another research examined people’s spending habits and their level of happiness. 632 people were asked to rate their happiness and report on their spending habits – bills, gifts to others, purchases for themselves, donations, etc. In general, those who donated their money as charity, gave it as a gift or spent it on others rated themselves higher on the happiness scale.
A firm in Boston conducted another research, in which employees received a bonus and had to report on their spending and their happiness level before and after the bonus. Surprise, surprise, people who spent more of their money on others rated themselves higher on the happiness scale. So in fact, those who used the bonus on others enjoyed it more than people who used it to pay bills or buy things for themselves.
This is a great explanation for why parents want things for their kids rather than for themselves. When you make the choice not to buy yourself a new shirt or shoes and spend this money on your kids’ gift or music lesson instead, you are making yourself happier.
I believe that the act of giving has an enormous reward attached. Giving is a wonderful way to promote a sense of abundance. When you give, it means that emotionally you have enough for yourself as well as to give others.
Wealth mindset is about more than just money. It includes the sense of contentment and abundance and giving is a great way to remember and appreciate the abundance around you. If you want to raise happy kids with a sense of abundance, teach them to give.
How to teach kids to give
- Encourage your kids to offer a snack from their lunch box to a kid who has forgotten his or her food
- Take your kids with you to visit people who are sick
- Take your kids to the local retirement village to give cookies to old people and spend time making them happy
- Take your kids to a hospital to do art and craft with sick children (make sure it is safe and not contagious)
- Be appreciative when your kids help you (do not kick them out of the kitchen because they have made a mess)
- Be a role model of someone who donates time to the benefit of society by coaching the basketball team, joining the school’s Parents Association or helping in class
- Teach your kids to recognize when people are worried, angry, helpless or upset and encourage them to offer their help
- When cleaning the closet from old and unused clothes, take your kids with you to the secondhand shop and give the clothes together. Talk to your kids about other kids who do not have the things that you are giving away and will be happy to get them
- Teach your kids to be kind to all living things – plants, animals and other human beings
- Encourage your kids to help other kids in class with schoolwork if they can
Teaching our kids to give is a great way for us parents to feel happy. When we teach giving, we hand our children a very important formula to obtain happiness. This is a win-win situation, because by giving, we receive a high sense of making a difference in the lives of the people who are dearest to us – our children.
Live long and prosper,
This post is part of the series Happily Wealthy Family:
- Happily Wealthy Family: 8 Good Reasons to Be a Rich Parent
- Rich Thoughts, Poor Thoughts
- The World Bank: Claim Your Money
- The Magic Money Jar
- Buying Happiness by Giving
- Working Kids: The Value of Money
- No Flights Policy: How to Reduce Expenses
- Negative Beliefs About Money
- Positive Beliefs about Money
- Family Wealth Fitness