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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Keeping Up With the Experiential Joneses

This just might be crazy enough to be correct:

Material riches fail the happy test, by Henry Tricks, Financial Times: Rich people are likely to find more happiness scuba-diving or going to a concert than buying that Ferrari, global investors were told on Friday. According to what many in financial circles will regard a heretical piece of research by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, materialistic goals may even cause dissatisfaction with life and mental disorders such as paranoia. The report by James Montier, DrKW global equity strategist, comes a year after he shocked clients with ... another jaw-dropping suggestion, that money and happiness shouldn't be equated. Building on the theme, he said on Friday that there was a mass of evidence to suggest that spending on experiences, such as walking the Machu Picchu trail in Peru, rather than possessions, such as “flash watches”, seemed to make people happier, provided their basic needs were satisfied. This notion applied to people once they were earning more than $25,000. “This doesn't mean you have to give your wordly possessions away, although there may be a lot to say for this,” he told clients. Explaining the benefits of experiences over possessions, he said they tended to be unique, whereas a house or car is likely to become the norm very quickly. He urged readers to avoid a keep-up-with-the-Joneses syndrome. However, other experts believe that is a pipe dream. “Human beings have to look over their shoulder before they decide how happy they feel,” said Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at Warwick University.

So, like he says, avoid those paranoia inducing materialistic goals. Instead, grab that new scuba gear made possible by the home equity loan, take advantage of those expensive diving lessons, and enjoy yourself! Just don't drive there in a Ferrari.

    Posted by on Sunday, November 6, 2005 at 12:48 AM in Economics | Permalink  TrackBack (1)  Comments (14)

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    Tracked on Sunday, December 25, 2005 at 05:02 AM


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