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A Money Snippet: Retail Therapy Is Not an Investment

15 Nov 2010

On Friday during lunch, I went to the mall to buy a birthday present for my mother. While I was there, I stopped in a high-end jewelry store because I’ve been planning on buying a string of pearls for over a year now. (I’m really big on delayed gratification.)

Saleswoman: Side by side like this, you can see the difference between the two strands. The Akoya pearls are smaller, but 8mm is still larger than most for pearls of this quality.

Me: Uh-huh.

SW: As you can see, the Akoya pearls are more round and more lustrous.

Me: And more than twelve times the price.

SW: A good pearl necklace like this one is not just a necklace; it’s an investment.

Me (blinking): Huh?

SW: With care, it’ll last you at least twenty years. And every woman needs a good pearl necklace because it’s beautiful and very feminine.

Me: Will the pearls lose value over time?

SW: Yes. Pearls aren’t like diamonds, but the Akoya pearls will not lose as much value as the freshwater pearls.

Me: Something guaranteed to lose value over time is not an investment.

Once she started the spiel on how I could finance the purchase over a twenty-month period with a store credit card, I had to leave even though I wanted to buy the Akoya pearls and can afford to do so without financing. It’s all kinds of wrong to (1) justify a retail purchase by wrongfully labeling it as an investment and (2) to go into debt to buy it. And with so many enablers out there, it’s no wonder so many people have money issues.

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