Deciding how best to invest a pension pot cache is anything but child’s play. If you’re thinking of an extravagant party, a gold-plated smartphone, or a vintage bottle of champagne, then hold on a moment. Science has confirmed what we all knew deep down anyway - that the key to happiness is to spend money not on possessions but experiences. So we thought we’d take a look at the most common windfall purchases to see which will provide the most (and best) experiences:
We love armchairs. They’re comfy, dignified, and provide a great platform to watch your favourite soaps. But you may also be aware of the following phenomenon: the less energy we spend, the less energy we have available to spend. So be warned: a brief sit down on a new armchair is liable to turn into a long one.
But what if we told you there were ways to make every day a holiday? We can’t fault a lovely holiday – time away will reliably provide some great memories to handily bump up the happiness quotient (because that’s how it works, right?). Not to mention the boost in self-esteem, workplace satisfaction and even marital bliss levels. So, a strong choice overall.
Home renovation is another noble spend – improving your everyday surroundings is challenging but rewarding and brings a lot of perks. It’s an opportunity to add value to your property (with now being a perfect time – house prices on the rise) and an excellent excuse to use your hands and brain (human beings evolved opposable thumbs for a reason.)
Gadgets can be alluring, but be wary: most technology is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Whilst making toast using the grill (versus an expensive four-slice toaster) is, at worst, a mild inconvenience and brewing your morning coffee with a simple cafetiere tastes as good (if not better) than an expensive ‘pod made’ espresso; the manufacturer will still insist that you need a new model. We believe that outside of a lovely new mattress (which comes highly recommended), most upgrades to our ‘stuff’ generally won’t impact our quality of life as much as our brains convince us beforehand. But what about an object that enables new experiences? Like a musical instrument, a woodworking lathe, or tap shoes? I’m sure you can see where I’m going.
Surprise! An electric bike company website would say (wouldn’t it) that, on paper, an electric bike is a ‘sensible’ investment.
The cost of a battery charge is measured in pennies (working out to be the equivalent of 1,500 miles per gallon); riding to work can save hundreds in parking fees (not to mention the money saved from less wear and tear on your car); exercise in the aerobic zone burns calories effectively, etc. etc.
But in practice, riding an electric bike is more about the experience you cant quantify. It’s seeing the country, enjoying the weather and daring to dream of your next adventure. It’s “15 more minutes in bed before work”.
It’s staying active and not realising you are burning calories. It’s arriving at work energised, not exhausted. It’s properly exploring your holiday destination (and picking up a pint of milk while you’re at it). It’s freedom, fun, and feeling like a child again. It’s the excuse to dare to dream of your next adventure.
So our advice: don’t just be a consumer. Invest in your happiness - that’s important!