Monday, October 3, 2022

Liz Weston: How to Find More Joy by Giving Good Reasons Nation World News

We may think that spending money on ourselves will make us happier than spending it on someone else. This belief can make it difficult to take money out of our budget To give good reasons.

But research shows that spending money on others makes us happy. This seems to be a worldwide phenomenon, and it applies whether we have a lot of money or a little.

“In research, generosity and happiness are clearly linked,” says Christy Archuleta, a professor of financial planning at the University of Georgia. “When we are generous with our time, our talents, whatever abilities we can give to others, we are happier.”

However, some generous acts evoke more positive emotions than others. Here’s what to consider if you want to maximize your happiness while helping others.

make it social

Canadian social psychologist Lara Eakin says she’s been interested in the emotional benefits of financial generosity since she was 8, and in the dreamlike ways she can help other people.

“I remember that if I save $10, I can give it to my parents and they can go out to dinner,” she laughs. “I clearly had no concept of money (because) I thought $10 would make them an evening out on the town.”

As a graduate student, Eakin investigated how money could improve well-being and found that “professional spending” – spending on others – was a source of happiness. In later research, Aknin, now a distinguished associate professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, determined that a social connection is most rewarding when it is offered. For example, instead of sending someone a gift card to a restaurant, we’d be happy if we took them out to dinner, Eakin says.

Volunteering can connect us with others, such as organizing or participating in a fundraiser. Giving a group gift or charity is another way to up the social factor, says Eakin.

check your influence

We also want to know that our giving matters. Being able to see or imagine a change in our contribution will increase our happiness, says Eakin.

In a 2013 study led by Eakin, participants were given the option of donating to one of two charities dedicated to improving the health of children in poor areas: UNICEF and Spread the Net. Spread the Net offers a concrete example of the impact of donations by specifying that for every $10 given, a life-saving mosquito net will be purchased. UNICEF did not provide such details. Researchers found that participants who donated to Spread the Net felt happier after their contribution, but those who donated to UNICEF did not.

“The more information we have about the positive impact of our gifts, the greater the emotional rewards,” says Eakin.

This does not mean that you should not give money to UNICEF. But you can get more satisfaction from your donation if you read stories about the organization’s impact or study its annual report.

emphasis on choice

Want to take pleasure from giving? Make it a liability, Aknin says. For maximum happiness, people should have the choice of what to give, to whom and how much.

“If people feel caught or forced or bound, these emotional rewards sometimes disappear or can be severely diminished,” she says.

You can increase your sense of autonomy by planning your charitable donation, says Archuleta, a certified financial therapist and co-founder of the Financial Therapy Association. Think about what you value, investigate nonprofits that support those values, and consider making recurring contributions part of your budget, she suggests.

If you’re trying to encourage your kids to be philanthropists, consider letting them choose the cause and how much to donate. (You can give them directions like giving them a nickel, a penny, or a quarter of every dollar they receive.) Find ways to demonstrate their impact: $20 Buying a family flock through Heifer International Can, for example, or feed a shelter pet for a few weeks. And encourage them to build social connections by volunteering or through fundraising with friends.

“Giving in a more rewarding way is important, not only because you feel good in the moment, but that hot flashes will be a factor that encourages you to give again,” says Eakin.


This column was provided by personal finance website NerdWallet to The Associated Press. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner, and the author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: [email protected] Twitter: @lizweston.

Related Links:

NerdWallet: Budget 101: How to Budget Money


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