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Money Minute: 3 reasons money isn't making you happy

Money can buy happiness — but only if you spend it right.  In this week’s Money Minute, I explain three reasons you may be earning more but don't feel any happier.

You value stuff over experiences. Research has proven that spending money on stuff won’t make you happy in the long term. We get used to having the latest iPhone or fancy diamond earrings and over time the satisfaction they bring us fades. Experiences provide enduring waves of happiness that can last for years because they give you something to remember long after you swipe your credit card. I’m not saying you have to do something huge like an African safari or bungee jumping. Just go on a hike with a friend or treat your mom to a nice dinner.

You’re earning money but wasting time. Here’s what no one ever tells you about earning more money — when you devote all of your time and energy to making more, you might be doing so at great cost to your personal happiness. You find a great paying job but you have to spend hours commuting to and from the office. Then, you work late to impress the boss. And you check emails on the weekend. You think you’re happy because you're earning more, but you may be too exhausted and stressed to ever enjoy the fruits of your labor.

You don’t see your generosity in action. Giving to others can be a great mood booster, but if you want a real happiness boost, you have to do it right. Real, genuine happiness comes from seeing your generosity in action, according to research. Rather than simply cutting a check for a random charity, spend an hour or two volunteering in person. Or choose to donate to causes that give you frequent updates on where your money is going, like Kiva or DonorsChoose.org.

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