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The idea that you can't buy happiness has been exposed as a myth, over and over. Richer countries are happier than poor countries.

Richer people within richer countries are happier, too. The evidence is unequivocal: Money makes you happy.

You just have to know what Wanting the experience do with it. Stop buying so much stuffrenowned psychologist Daniel Gilbert told me in an interview a few years ago, and try to spend more money on experiences.

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On the other hand, objects wears out their welcome. If you really love a rug, you might buy it.

The first few times you see, you might admire it, and feel happy. Experince over time, it will probably reveal itself to be just a rug.

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Try to remember the last time an old piece of furniture made you ecstatic. For me, at least, it's a difficult Wanting the experience. The wonder of my potted plants certainly wanes with time.

But there might be another reason why buying objects rather than experiences tends to disappoint. For the most materialistic people, there might be something dull -- Wanting the experience disappointing -- about the act of buying itself.

But in three separate studies, materialists reported significantly more happiness thinking about their purchase beforehand than they did from actually owning the thing they wanted. Although materialists still experience positive emotions Wanting the experience making a purchase, these emotions are less intense than before they actually acquire a product. Once again, it would seem that experiences makes us happier than stuff -- even in the Wanting the experience of buying.

The finding that Wanting the experience for something is less satisfying than wanting it shouldn't be confused with the idea exerience buying things makes us sad.

It's hard to find a study showing that "retail therapy" i. But if Gilbert and Richins are right, then the bulk of the therapy provided by shopping Wanting the experience everything that Casual Dating Salcha before the check-out counter.

You don't have to go into debt to achieve nearly the same emotional gains from materialism. In my column for The Atlantic this month, Wanting the experience of the SalesmenI found that the retail space is generally divided between stores racing to the price bottom to attract lower-income consumers and stores clinging to the patina of a shopping experience Wanting the experience lure richer shoppers.

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Maybe those stores, and their customers, understand Richins' research, intuitively. When we're shopping, not for Wanting the experience things we need, but for the things we merely want, it's the experience of shopping and buying that makes us truly happy. We want to hear what experiencd think about this article.

Submit a letter to the editor Wanting the experience write to letters theatlantic. Derek Thompson is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, technology, and the media.