Spending Money to Save Time May Make Us Happier

By Yann Kostic and Tom Zachystal from the December 2017 Edition

As free time shrinks, along with our tolerance for time-consuming, unpleasant household tasks, one recent study may have an answer: buy back your time.

Results of the study appeared recently in PNAS, a scientific journal devoted to “cutting-edge” research. It was a collaborative effort by researchers from Harvard University, the University of British Columbia (UBC), and two Netherlands research institutes.

The question: Would you pay someone to take over daily tasks you find disagreeable and a waste of time? The result: Those who paid others to save their own time were more satisfied with their lives than those who did not.

Interestingly, this was not a decision made only by those with high incomes who could easily afford to pay someone to take on these tasks. And it did not correlate with number of hours worked or size of family; satisfaction levels were high among people of all incomes, family size, and work responsibilities. However, the study also showed that few of us consider spending money this way. Why? One thought is that many of us believe that household drudge work, such as grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning, is something we need to do for our families. So when it comes to having an advisor helping you in the investment and retirement area, spending money to free up our time may be associated with guilty feelings.

In an npr.org report, Elizabeth Dunn, UBC psychology professor and a study author, suggested, “Contemplating paying some-body else to do something you’re perfectly capable of doing yourself may provoke feelings of guilt.” But for those without enough hours in the day (or for those dreading doing it them-selves), it’s a feeling they may be willing to accept.

Obviously, we cannot guarantee that talking to an advisor will automatically make you happier, but at least we can provide you with sound advice, which ultimately will save you time and money.

Note: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide financial advice for your particular situation.

December 2017
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Yann Kostic, MBA and Tom Zachystal, CFP, are Presidents of their respective Assets Management firms, both US-Registered Investment Advisors (RIA). Tom is the San Francisco Financial Planners’ Association President. Tom and Yann cater to US expats in Mexico and worldwide. Comments, questions or to request his newsletter, “News you can use” contact him at yannk@atlantisgrp.com, in the US at (321) 574-1 529 or in Mexico, (376) 106-1613.

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