Money Can Buy Happiness – If You Give It Away!
25 June 2013 at 12:19 pm
A national survey has found that Australians think spending money on themselves makes them happy, but soon to be released neuro-imaging research suggests they might be happier if they gave it away instead.
A survey commissioned by social entrepreneur Hailey Cavill, director of Cavill + Co, suggests Australians are mistaken in their beliefs about how money can buy happiness.
“Most Australians believe saving their money or buying themselves a treat will make them happiest – but brain chemistry says otherwise,” Cavill said. “When we asked people what would make them feel happiest if they were given $100, saving and spending came out way in front of giving it away.
“Aussies think saving or spending money will make them happy, but they’re wrong. Brain chemistry shows that altruism generates more happiness than money and chocolate.”
Cavill commissioned Di Marzio Research to ask 1,200 Australians: ‘If you were given $100 what would you do with it to make YOU feel happiest?’
Of the seven options, 50% chose ‘put it into savings or super’ as first or second choice. Equal second with 42% were ‘buy myself something nice’ and ‘buy a friend or family member something nice’. Less than a quarter chose to ‘donate to my favourite charity’ or ‘give it to someone less fortunate’, with just 11% each. Just 5% chose ‘invest in a lottery ticket/bet on a horse’, while 39% chose ‘pay off a debit/credit card’.
Cavill believes people would give away more if they knew how good it felt. New neuro-imaging research to be released in July points to altruism as a game-changer, she said.
“Neuro-imaging confirms that DoGooding is not only good for society and the recipient, but good for the DoGooder – it actually makes you happy,” she said.
“Performing an altruistic act releases dopamine, often called the ‘pleasure neuro-transmitter’, as well as oxytocin, known as the ‘love hormone’ as it promotes human bonding. The only other known act that releases both these hormones at the same time is Sex!
“Brain chemistry does not lie: DoGooding will make you happy as well as being good for society – and boy, do we need it, with all the unhappiness in the world,” she said.
“This is important for business owners too, as a culture of altruism can make employees happy – and happy employees are more motivated, loyal and productive.
“Company culture begins at the top, so bosses should reveal the charities they help, the people they mentor and the volunteering they do, and encourage others to join in.”
Hailey Cavill will present the research into the neuroscience of altruism in a White paper entitled: The DNA of Doing Good at the Criterion Corporate Partnerships Conference in Sydney in July 2013.
The survey results can be downloaded here.