Friday, August 9, 2013

Fiscal Friday: These Are Not Investments

I enjoy reading fashion and lifestyle blogs (guilty pleasure) and I've noticed an obnoxious trend. People refer to a pricey pair of shoes, a nice coat, or a fancy piece of furniture as an "investment piece."

No. Investments are appreciating assets or tools that allow you to make money. Clothing, handbags and home furnishings almost always depreciate in value.

I have some nice things: a leather handbag, cashmere stole, and high quality clothes. I like them, and it gives me pleasure to wear and use them regularly. But they aren't investments, and it's a dangerous habit to identify them as such.

Your wardrobe is not an appreciating asset. You will not be able to retire one day on your stash of J Crew pencil skirts, classic black pumps and Kate Spade bags, no matter how timeless they are. Unless you are Macy's, purchasing clothing is not investing; it's consumption. Invest in stocks; consume clothing, and know the difference.


  1. I came here by way of your comment over at and I love your post! I happen to like nice things, too, but not at the expense of accumulating debt or risking a nice retirement life.

    Your point about marketing the "investment" aspect of a purchase is very important and buyer beware! I consider myself a pretty money-savvy lady, I even blog about money, but lulled myself into believing the lie just a few years ago.

    I love Stickley furniture. It's well made, solid and worthy of passing down to future generations. But it's pricey. I bought a king-size, beautiful, Prairie bed thinking I'd own it for the rest of my life so the investment aspect wasn't really part of my buying decision.

    Turns out it was too big for my room. So, during the recent down-turn in the economy I posted it on CraigsList and found out all too quickly that it was NOT and investment.

    I called the store I bought it from and they don't buy back these supposed "investments" even though the price new has increased. They won't help hook you up with someone who would benefit from a less expensive used model.

    Your point is very solid... I feel like a sucker for believing it in the first place! If it isn't bringing in income, it isn't an asset and certainly not an investment!

    1. Stickley furniture is gorgeous; I'd be tempted too!

      I've found with a lot of consumer goods, it's worthwhile to just buy used to start when possible. There's so much depreciation in things like clothing and furniture that a nearly-new item will cost less than half the price. Most consumer products just don't hold their value, period.

    2. A wise woman you are! The lady that ended up buying the bed had been watching it as I kept lowering the price. She finally bought it for a steal. She said that she has picked up a number of beautiful Stickley pieces by doing that. Grrrrr...why was I so stupid?!?!?!

      But, I've learned my lesson. Should I ever need anything in the future, you can be I won't buy new!

  2. I am a huge fan of second hand clothing shopping now and try to avoid new clothing, except for underthings and the occasional must have for a work event item (like a white golf tee for golf outing).

    Considering that a lot of "quality" brands aren't making their clothes with the same quality as before, I can often find better quality clothes second hand either at thrift or consignment shops. I then go to those shops when I need clothes AND they have sales. Two of my favorites are Second to None and Unique thrift which are chains that have locations throughout NYC.

    1. I have a hard time standing up for very long (walking I can do; browsing in shops is very hard), so I don't frequent thrift shops. Instead, I have this set of Ebay searches. Ebay e-mails me daily with the new results of certain searches, and I just browse and buy at my leisure. Very handy.

  3. The dollar-rupee exchange rate. Even the yen-dollar rate, or the pound or euro. Whatever. So long as I trade in something. And they are offering to 'train' me for free, so that I then get a 'free' online software and indulge in currency trading which will surely make me a fortune! Currency movements are something that involves very big players including central banks and institutions like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. investor resources