Invest more in experiences, less in stuff

Stuff is a thing, it is not dynamic – it will not make you as happy as you think – mostly because it sticks around, and that means you get bored of all that stuff. In fact, a really bad part in buying awesome stuff is that it will stay around to disappoint you!

As an investor, a winning strategy is to avoid investing in stuff, instead choosing to invest in things that will not stick around, all that is dynamic and has a limit in time.

Experiences – all that has a beginning, a fruition and an end – do not give you time to adapt to them. A trip to a new place is thrilling and exciting while you are at it, but is completely over when you get back. It evaporates, and you are left with nothing but a memory, a wonderful experience, and that is dynamic.

We get more happiness out of experiences than we get from stuff.

Make a test right now – think about getting some cool stuff and then think about enjoying an experience. I bet you felt happier when you focused on an experience, not so happy when you thought about a getting some awesome stuff.

However, our nagging little egos keep whispering behind our ears that awesome stuff is… awesome, right? Well…. wrong! In fact, our petty little egos make it harder for us to realize that experiences make us happier. That little nagging voice keeps pushing us to get the awesome, cool stuff, regardless of the fact that you know and I know and literally everyone knows that, after consumption, when all is said and done, we are all much happier after the experience than with the purchase, and that is the Truth.

The strategy is pretty straight forward – invest in experiences that will make people happier than stuff, especially if the experience is new to them.

Understanding this and applying this into your portfolio management strategy is actually one of the most powerful techniques you will ever deploy to enhance your happiness, and your profits. 

But there is more – it turns out experiences are actually better happiness providers than awesome stuff for other reasons too:

  • When you tell people about your experiences, it is just way more fun for both you and everybody else. Forget about the new shiny object du jour – nobody cares. We all want to hear about the swimming with sharks expedition!
  • Experiences make you happy because they help other people resonate with you, which has the effect of boosting your group integration and social life. 
  • Others think higher of you when you share experiences, not when you talk about the awesome shiny stuff you got. You make people think you’re twice as humorous by investing in experiences. They see you as adventurous, and there is coolness in that. People just dig you better if you’re the kind of person that invest in experiences.
  • Experiences are less subject to social comparison. It’s harder to compare your summer trip versus somebody else’s trip. And so instead, people try to get knowledge from your experience, so they can plan their own. And that means that if we’re the type of people who invest in experiences, it is less likely that we are target of envy. 
  • The cool one is the last one – your experiences seem to make other people happy, either because they get to participate, or simply because when you tell people about your crazy experience, that makes them people happy to be around you. How cool is that? Awesome!

Consequently, as you consider your investment options, look for businesses that offer experiences, not stuff – everyone will come out happier.

António Belo Santos

Photo by Luke Bender on Unsplash

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