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5 reasons you should stop spending money only on yourself right now.

Breaking news: Money can buy happiness. Sometimes.

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TD Ameritrade

Michael Norton is a professor at Harvard Business School. Smart dude, right? Well, he's got some news for us: Money can buy happiness. But it has everything to do with how that money is spent.

Check out the video of Michael Norton's TED Talk to get the whole scoop, or scroll down to read more.


Here are five reasons to spend your money on other people.

1. Too much money makes us selfish and antisocial.

The perfect example of this is winning the lottery. We all know it would be a dream come true to win the lottery, right? Maybe not. People who win the lottery often go into debt and have some pretty strained social relationships (what with every single human they've ever met asking them for money all the time).

GIFs via TED/YouTube.

And what do people commonly say they would do if they won the lottery? Check out these antisocial ideas:

  • First idea: "When I win I am going to buy my own little mountain and have a little house on top."

  • Second idea, far more creative but just as creepily antisocial: "I would fill a big bathtub with money and get in the tub while smoking a big fat cigar and sipping a glass of champagne. Then I'd have a picture taken and dozens of glossies made. Anyone begging for money or trying to extort from me would receive a copy of the picture and nothing else." ... ummmm, okkaayyyyy?

Bottom line: Winning the lottery makes people's lives worse. Imagining winning the lottery makes people weird.

But...

2. Spending money on other people makes you happier.

Norton did an experiment in which people in one experimental group (let's say Group A) were given money to spend on themselves. People in another experimental group (Group B) were given money to spend on other people. At the end of the day, Group A's happiness had remained the same; Group B's happiness had increased.

That's right: The people who spent money on others actually got happier.

Treat yo self ---> happiness remains the same.

GIF via "Parks and Recreation."

Spend on someone else ---> get happier.

Bottom line: Spending money on other people increases your level of happiness.

3. Donating money to charity is positively related to happiness.

You might be thinking, "OK, in a few wealthy countries, spending money on others increases happiness. Big whoop." But listen up: This finding holds true in almost every single country in the world.

Check out this map. Green countries are places where donating money to charity and general happiness in life are positively correlated — where money to charity and happiness go hand in hand.

Image via TED/YouTube.

See that sea of green? It shows that in 136 countries, people who give money to charity are happier than people who don't give money to charity. We can't say for sure why or which factor causes which result, but we know they're positively related.

Bottom line: Spending money on others is positively related to happiness all over the world.

4. Business teams that spend money on each other do better.

Here's another experiment that proves you should spend money on other people. This one focuses on sales teams in Belgium. In one group, individuals on the sales team were given money to spend on themselves. In the other group, they were given money to spend on someone else on the team. If you've been following up till now, I'm doubting their findings will shock you.

The result? Sales teams that spent money on each other performed better. They sold more stuff. They were more productive workers. Cash money increased.

GIF via TED/YouTube.

Pretty cool, right!? And the best example of what a prosocial team did with the money? They bought a piñata and smashed it together. How's that for team bonding? (Just don't hit your teammates.)

Bottom line: Spending money on other people even increases performance in a business setting.

5. Dodgeball teams that spend money on each other WIN ALL THE THINGS.

Yep, this concept also applies to dodgeball. The final experiment shows that dodgeball teams that got money to spend on each other were totally transformed and began to dominate the league. Like this:

GIF via "Glee."

Bottom line: Spend money on your teammates, WIN DODGEBALL. Also known as this spending-on-other-people thing has a ridiculously wide array of applications.

Did all that kind of blow your mind like it totally blew mine?

I don't know about you ... but I'm off to go buy someone a coffee.

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