Video: Can money buy you happiness?

  1. Closed captioning of: Can money buy you happiness?

    >>> back now at 8:11 with the often asked question does money truly buy happiness? for families are downsizing but are they happier going from everything from television to cars and most of their furniture? from the mansions to fancy cars, expensive jewelry to designer clothing it's all about making money to consume.

    >> we are hard wired to acquire.

    >> in the long run all of that stuff doesn't make us happy.

    >> with the economic downturn there has been a shift in the nation's spending habits. tammy stroebl and her husband from portland, oregon, decided to give up most of their worldly possessions, limiting themselves to just 100 personal items.

    >> this is our great room. this is our couch and bed. we have essentially downsized our lives and are having a lot of fun while getting rid of stuff.

    >> it has taken tammy and logan about three years to downsize.

    >> my wardrobe is pretty minimal. one of the first things that i donated a lot of my clothes and just paired down and kept what i really wore.

    >> they gave up their two-bedroom apartment, car and now live in a 400-square-foot apartment.

    >> we have a minimal kitchen, boxes of stuff. sure there are times when i'm like, oh, it would be really great to have a car right now. we could go to the coast or go to mt. hood but i'd also be stuck with a car payment and car insurance and gas.

    >> and downsizing has helped their pocketbooks.

    >> we graduated with zero debt.

    >> we could take a lesson from this that you really can do with probably less and enjoy life more.

    >> and that's exactly what tammy and logan are doing.

    >> we're not trying to be elitist in any way. we're just showing that living a simple life and concentrating on things that make us happy, people and experiences and travel is really priorities instead of fancy cars and lots of furniture.

    >> stephanie rosen blum wrote about them for "the new york times" business section and jeff gardere is a psychiatrist who joins us this morning. fascinating. it's a really fascinating article. when you think about it, it does turn on its head what we think makes us happy in american culture .

    >> sure.

    >> what did you learn? you talked to a lot of researchers.

    >> the main thing is some of us have habits we were forced into during the recession. in the long run may make us happier and that means putting value on an experience as opposed to an object, it means thinking about something hard and long before he decide to buy it.

    >> and this is a lesson you learned from tammy and logan because that's what they're doing?

    >> that's what they're doing but there's a number of psychologists in the country who have been studying the relationship between consumption and money and really spending. how do you get the most happiness for your buck?

    >> are you one of the experts who would agree with this idea?

    >> absolutely and these experts are saying, listen, don't put your money into objects, don't put them into cars or clothes. instead, invest in the experience. europe not getting everything all at one time. it lasts you a very long time and even if you, for example, buy a stay-cation or a vacation, then you have those memories to last you longer and longer and that's where you're getting the most bang for the buck .

    >> i'm hearing a lot of my girlfriends and perhaps others right now saying, wait a minute. i really get happy when i buy, for example, that new pair of shoes.

    >> sure.

    >> so there is that kind of reality. people do get happy buying things.

    >> well, that's true except if you're just collecting shoes, that's not so great. but if you buy the shoes so that you can have an experience with those shoes, going out and looking good and feeling good about yourself and not spending a ton of money, and this is what the researchers are also saying, try to minimize your spending, try to lower the debt. just not having those issues really helps you as far as your happiness.

    >> that seems to be what you found that tammy and logan loved not having and that's made them happy.

    >> it's allowed them to give money to nieces and nephews to their college fund , to travel more. when one family comes to visit, they can put them up in a hotel room , something they couldn't do when they were in debt like that.

    >> they seem to love one another. they're not worried so much about all of the possessions. they have more time to deal with one another and that's a lesson we can all learn.

    >> tammy said give away some of your stuff. see how it feels. so it wasn't just -- you were mexing giving away, limiting each one of themselves to 100 e items.

    >> yes.

    >> which is shocking.

    >> which is a lot of stuff to get rid of. but giving back to charity, giving it to people who may need it, that in itself made them happy.

    >> made them feel better.

    >> were you inspired?

    >> i was. i've gotten rid of six pairs of shoes.

    >> there you go. and even so you're saying this is a process and i think what we've learned here is being with their families, spending time with people we love and having those experiences.

    >> living for others and not so much for yourself, not keeping up with the joneses but being happy. minimal.

    >> thank you so much. thank you so much for filing the story. really fascinating stuff.

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