People Who Value Time Over Money Are Happier

Staff author: Adilia S.

People who prioritize time more than material goods tend to be more satisfied with their lives. That’s the conclusion of the research published by scientists from the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Valuing Time Over Money

It goes to show the truth that we make ourselves happy, rather than things we have or dream of. Besides the world became extremely busy and the most valuable thing today is time. It sounds simplistic but it really is.

More than 4 thousand students of the university, as well as visitors of the science museum in Vancouver participated in the research. The survey involved questions from daily life.

The participants were asked to choose where they would like to live — in a lavish house located far away from their job or in a cheaper one but close to the office; how they would like to work after graduation — long hours and have a high income or start a career with less hours and lower salary, respectively.

6 various studies were conducted.

The Research

How to become happier

Relationships are known to bring more happiness and longevity to men.

It turned out that the majority of people appreciate time over money in their existence, and this approach is directly associated with feeling happier. More than 50% of respondents indicated that time was more significant for them than the material values. Elderly people opted for time as the main value even stronger than younger ones, reported.

When people get older, they start to appreciate time rather than material things and try to spend it in a valuable way, explained lead researcher Ashley Whillans, a doctoral student in Social Psychology at the UBC.

However, opinions of people living in poverty were not analyzed whereas they are more likely to choose money as their main goal and justification for existence.

In addition, Whillans believes that to live in a more meaningful way, we need to shift our priorities — do not stay at work till night, hire someone to do the work that we can’t stand like cleaning up, or help people in need.

How To Become Happier

Undoubtedly, some alternatives require money, but even small changes can help us become happier:

  • Walk early in the morning
  • Chat with friends
  • Visit relatives
  • Do sports
  • Sign up for dancing lessons
  • Work for charitable causes
  • Learn another language

The list is endless!

If you want to meet your sweetheart, register on a dating site — it will not take long, and can be exciting and joyful. Having more spare time spent in a valuable way will advance you on your way to happiness faster than money that you can make during this time.

And certainly, finding a soul mate changes your whole perspective on life. Men who are in a relationship live longer and are happier, research after research confirms.


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June Ch

Unfortunately, we have to earn money to spend our time like we want to. So it is a vicious circle: we spend our time to make the another time of our life happier. The only way to be happy all the time is to make earning money as something interesting and great. The most easy way of being happy and joyful is to love your job!

Exactly what I need. When I become older, I will appreciate time like others do. Especially my classmates, they are so responsible. And they are so punctual. I just can’t stand that. Because every time I go there, they are studying something, sitting on a chair in a fixed pose, staring at book and every time when I see them, It seems to me, they are making decision of their whole life. It’s just annoying. But what about spendindg time in another more comfortable and cosy way. I think, it’s possible when you do what you like to do. This… Read more »

The best thing here is to find your job which is at the same time your desire, so you don’t have to choose. But it happens very rarely. For example people in Moscow have better salary then in the most regions of Russia, but they also have to go to work every day 1,5-2 hours one way. It means they don’t see lot of the real life during the week, only car or train and their working places. And I’m not sure they are happy with their big salaries after all.


Surely, we have to work to live. 2 years ago I did two jobs, I didn’t have time on myself. I earned quite good money, but I didn’t have time to spend them. Was I happy? Probably, yes. But I’m not sure because I don’t remember anything expect work. 2 years are like 1 day. Now I’m mother of the loveliest girl. I don’t earn so much, but I’m really happy. I have a lot of things I will never forget. 1 year is like the whole like. Money is not everything. Appreciate time spent with close people!


Of course it is true that you will be happier if you spend a lot of time with your family and friends and you have hobbies. But it is very difficult to find this time because you have to work a lot. May be we should work in youth and relax when we are over 50.

Married to a Ukrainian girl I met on Elenasmodel
Married to a Ukrainian girl I met on Elenasmodel

I am not a rocket scientist, but I am sure that it is a hell lot easier to value time over money when you already have $10 million in your 401k and you are living off the interest. Then you will have the time to participate in a research about happiness, and therefore you will mark time as the most valuable because you are don’t need any more money.

This is something practically everyone in the world dreams of happening for themselves.


Somewhere in the Internet I recently read a post about psychological difference between rich and poor people. It is about what they put on the fist place: free time, energy or money. And the research revealed that poor people put money on the first place in their life. Only after they think about their energy and time. But rich people think differently (remember about Steve Jobs). They mostly value their free time and energy, that’s why they delegate powers and such a great approach helps them earn even more.


So true! Time is a precious thing and it’s sleeping away so quickly. Some people work too hard and hope that one day they will start spending their money and enjoying their lives but then they just wake up and realize they have no time left. And there is no way back.


I totally agree with the opinion that it is impossible to be happy, if you think only about money. I think the most important thing in life is to find something that you really like to do. We have only one life and we should not spend it earning money.