The Worst Investment I Ever Made

In All by Brian Imrich

I would expect you’re familiar with that “head slap” moment when the reality of a poor decision or outcome comes crashing down on you.  I have had many my fair share of head slap moments. I used to ask clients, “What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made? What’s the best investment you’ve ever made”?  

Investment could have been a stock or actual investment, or a purchase, where you spent your money, an experience where you spent your time etc….

For me, it was a Sony Bravia LCD television, right when they hit the market.  The price of plasma TVs was starting to level off and the new brethren LCD were gaining in popularity.  I was starting to make some extra money, above and beyond what I needed to be saving, and I lived in this apartment with a mammoth living room.  Nothing could have been better than a big screen to watch football and movies for hours at a time. At this time, I think we actually didn’t even have a TV, had a tv stand, but a basket of flowers sitting where a TV should have stood proud. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I believe the price was around $2,500, and, at first worth every single painstaking penny it cost.  

Fast forward 2 years and my wife and I are now getting home from work, preheating the oven for dinner, and then “pre heating” the TV so the screen could warm up.  Yes, eventually it refused to just work all together. And so I went through the motions with SONY…:”It needs a new part, which cost $1,000” and by that time, a new television cost $1,000 or less, as the prices had dropped precipitously and continued to do so.  

I learned many valuable lessons from the planned obsolescence of consumer technology products (Phones, TV, Computers), that the high price tag doesn’t guarantee quality or even longevity.  

This lesson has paid many dividends as we entered the stage of our life where we were starting a family.  It was easy to spend $1,500 on a changing table. A table that your child would literally likely pee on 🙂 We tried to opt for the $500 version that looked nice enough and when it inevitably got destroyed, 3 months, 8 months, 5 years from now it wouldn’t cause us any regret.

There is nothing wrong with spending $1,500 on a changing table or $3,000 on a TV if you’re on track for all the other goals.  The trap to avoid is overspending on an unworthy item that could let you down much sooner than planned AND those dollars could have been spent furthering a goal that is much more important.  

I am torn on the best investment I’ve ever made, but will try to nail it down for a future post!


Happy Friday!