Happiness. We may differ about what constitutes or contributes to it, but undoubtedly it’s at the core of what all of us humans desire. So it’s helpful to consider our lifestyle choices and major purchases in light of whether they’re likely to contribute to our happiness. Despite the widespread culture of consumerism and materialism, a focus on accumulating things has actually been linked to all kinds of personality disorders and mental and emotional problems such as social anxiety, narcissism, and a general sense of dissatisfaction — about as far from happiness as you can get. By contrast, a 2009 survey of young adults demonstrated a long-held belief of many: “Experience tops objects when it comes to delivering happiness.” So let’s consider this tension between Materialism and Experientialism and how it may relate to your pool purchase.
What Makes Us Happy: Experientialism vs. Materialism
In the 2009 study by San Francisco State University, psychologists evaluated both the level of happiness participants reportedly experienced upon the initial purchase of an object, and their reported happiness level when they reflected on it 3 months later. Then those findings were contrasted with the same kinds of evaluations regarding experiences (such as an evening out with friends). Typically, those surveyed reported feeling higher levels of satisfaction both at the time of the purchase and months after the fact, when they reflected on experiences. These findings in a way seem counter-intuitive: the objects were still present, while the experience was fleeting.
Why Experiences Typically Win Out
Some psychologists explain this phenomenon by way of revisionist theory: our experiences and memories of them are more fluid than mere objects, allowing us to reframe them. Another possible explanation includes the relational nature of experiences: many of them are shared and provide catalysts for nurturing relationships. In addition, sharing our own experiences with others who were not part of them can foster more positive responses than sharing about material purchases; not only does such sharing seem less like bragging, but it is also less likely to promote envy.
Where Pool Purchase Comes In
While experiences have been shown to trump material possessions when it comes to promoting happiness, where does that put a pool purchase?! After all, it’s both a major purchase and something that promotes experiences. And what about that whole “money doesn’t buy happiness” deal? Well, it’s a bit complicated. First, the same psychologists who find a far greater degree of benefit from experiences than possessions fully realize that experiences often do cost money. The issue seems to be the purpose in a purchase. So if you’re buying a pool just to “keep up with the Joneses” or have “bragging rights” at your next class reunion, don’t expect that purchase to bring you happiness. But if, like most of our customers, your aim is toward relational benefits and experiences, your purchase of a backyard swimming pool may well increase your level of happiness.
But really, there’s only one way to find out!
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Since 1979 Lyon Financial has made the backyard resort dream come true for over 400,000 families across the U.S. Through our solid relationships with more than 3,000 pool contractors and our continued commitment to putting our clients first, we have built a reputation as the first choice in providing pool financing solutions. For more information, visit lyonfinancial.net or call (877) 754-5966 today.