I came across this article the other day [http://elitedaily.com/news/world/people-spend-money-experiences-instead-things-much-happier/983208/?utm_source=thrillist&utm_medium=tr&utm_campaign=p10k80] and knew instantly that it would be the subject of my next blog entry. No question.
It provided corroboration by learned professionals (including one from Cornell) of a theory that my wife and I have espoused our entire lives. That is – that you get more value out of investing your money in experiences than in buying “things”. By making memories, you’ve purchased something that you will carry with you your entire life – long after the new sweater, book, shoes or Blu-ray disc have outlived their use or relevance.
Those people who know us know that we travel as a family often. Our kids, who are 18 and 15 years old, have visited 26 states, 18 National Parks and 22 countries. On each of those trips, we always try to cover the most famous sights at a given destination, but also to find the less common experiences that will allow us to relate to our destination on a whole new level.
As a family, we also see a lot of Broadway shows, take hikes, visit museums, take cooking classes, etc. I can’t think of a birthday or holiday in recent memory where in addition to gifts, we haven’t also given our kids a gift certificate for some sort of upcoming family experience.
Our hope, and the goal of all of this, is that when we and our children are older, we can all reflect on these years as a collection of fun and amazing experiences that we all shared together. Where we all took the time out of busy lives to live these experiences together. And another beautiful side effect is that now when we say to our kids, “leave Saturday open, we’re going to do X”, they do so willingly knowing that regardless of what X is, it is bound to be interesting and fun. We’ve trained them to expect great experiences when we venture out as a family and we’ve delivered on that promise often enough that they are always game to climb aboard the next adventure, whatever it is.
Like most people, we take a lot of photographs of the things we do. But even without a camera or computer nearby, at any given moment, I can conjure up memories of dozens of great shared experiences with my family. As MasterCard would say, that alone is “priceless”.