Happiness Showdown: Time vs Money

Work-Life Balance has been a phrase associated with millennials and their desire for happiness. I still do not know how the headlines make this a bad thing.

I think the association of work-life balance to the younger generation is at least partially incorrect. I think that our generation has been forced to declare this desire because it was previously more prevalent. Due to new technology, our work can fit into our pocket, something the baby boomer generation did not have to worry about.

But does work-life balance, or time outside of work, truly make us happier? The University of British Columbia seems to think so.

They recently published a study looking at the trade-off between work and money.  They analyzed the impact of a person’s general orientation to prioritize time over money on their overall happiness. In doing so, they developed the Resource Orientation Measure to determine a person’s general orientation to prioritize money or time. People who prioritize time over money reported experiencing greater happiness. This association was small but statistically meaningful. They controlled for* materialism, material striving, current feelings of time and material affluence, and relevant demographic characteristics such as income, employment, marital status, gender, and age, and the results still held up.

So what does this mean for you?

You do you. If you are at a point in your career and life where you don’t mind long hours in exchange for pay you feel comfortable with – go for it. If you do crave personal time outside of work, now you have the scientific evidence to back up the happiness gained from prioritizing time over money!

Not sure how you feel about money vs time? Haven’t quite figured out that happiness could be your primary goal in life? Even before prestige, fame or money? – lets chat!

*To control for a variable means to reduce the effect of that variable on the outcome.