I had good hard think recently after debate about happiness I had with my mate Adam. Long after the debate I realised I was putting my argument the wrong way. My argument was based on the data that shows money has a weak correlation with happiness and after a certain point, it has pretty much no correlation. It’s not that pursuing more money is bad its that it shouldn’t come at the expense at things that are proven to make you more happy.
That argument still stands but I think I’ll try a different approach to convince you Adam.
You want a good job to provide for your future family so…
Welcome to my case for happy families.
Exhibit A: The happiest kids in existence
The first video demonstrates that Dutch kids are the happiest in the world, the video if you haven’t already watched it demonstrates a few key differences between the upbringing Dutch kids have verses the classic Anglo American one
- Moderate amounts of chocolate for breakfast
- Biking everywhere! All weathers, all places
- Not pushed at school too early
- Children are more motivated when they make choices about what to do
- On average they work a 29 hour week
- They have one day a week where the kids spend time with their parents
- Give children independence
- Lots of family time!
EXHIBIT B: MORE LESSONS FROM THE DUTCH!
This article focuses more on how the traditional extended family plays a big role
- The fact that Dutch parents are happy and not overworked translates well into happy kids
- 68% of Dutch mums work around 25 hours a week
- Dutch dads play a bigger role because many also work part time. 1/3 Dutch men work part time to spend more time with their kids
- Dutch grandmothers play a bigger role in bringing up kids than in the UK
The article also mentions the lack of pressure at school and the the fact Dutch kids eat Chocolate for breakfast BUT again it’s the fact that they eat breakfast with their families leading to more family time!
EXHIBIT C: Kids with stay at homes mum’s the happiest
So again. Another study stressing importance of family time over work. In fact a study cited in the article shows that women are happier as a homemaker than any other profession.
Another important thing to consider by staying at home to look after the kids, families save money because they don’t have to pay for childcare which adds up. So if you are looking it from a financial perspective “ a dollar saved is a dollar earned”
Ok so you know the importance of family over money for raising happy kids. Now what?
Money. Still. Matters! But with a good knowledge of how to achieve maximum happiness through minimal expenditure I hope you will realise that even this is relatively cheap which brings me to…
- Financial security – the most important way to increase happiness is to decrease stress and by saving money and giving yourself a sizable emergency fund you can decrease your financial stress
- Experiences – the study by Professor of Psychology Dan Gilbert shows it’s not the type of experience that people are engaged in but the fact that they are engaged in it because mind wandering is not just a symptom of but actually a cause of happiness. Therefore spending lots of weekends away on cheap getaways is more effective at making your wife and kids happy
- Charity – a study in Canada by social researcher Michael Norton conducted an experiment where they gave money to two groups of people. They told the first group to buy things for others and the other to buy things for themselves. The group that gave things to others way much happier. The same result happened when they repeated the study in Uganda.
The article ends with warnings of how not to spend money
- Don’t buy things that you think will make you happy, because it won’t work. It’s more important to manage expectations and your own mental wellbeing7
- Don’t buy things to impress other people
- Avoid lifestyle inflation, in other words avoid spending more as you earn more