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How Much Your Time is Really Worth

New study finds those who value their time are generally happier than those who focus more on money.

You can’t buy happiness, but did you know you can forfeit it for a nice wad of cash?

That’s the upshot of a new survey in which almost 5,000 Americans and Canadians were asked to choose between options that gave them more money or more free time—for instance, a high-paying job with long hours versus a lower-paid gig with fewer hours; or an expensive apartment close to work versus a cheaper apartment requiring a longer commute.

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The pool of subjects, it turned out, was pretty evenly divided between those who valued time or money more, researchers at the U. of British Columbia found. But here’s the revelation: When those results were matched up with psychological data, they found that subjects who considered their time more important were generally much happier.

And while neither income nor gender seemed to factor in, age did: Older people tended to value their time more than younger participants. (Yup, Grandpa may not know how to use a computer, but you still might want to listen to him.)

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Enjoying life is the key, says lead study researcher Ashley Whillans. After all, you’ll have more disposable income if you chase the cash, but when will you spend it?

And on whom?

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