UPDATE: We have a winner for the “Guess my stupid purchase” contest. More details next week…
I am planning on buying something ridiculous that will set me back about $500 (queue Mrs. 1500 rolling her eyes). If this thing works, it will provide me with hours and hours of enjoyment. I won’t tell you what it is now, except that is has to do with balls and will make me a better player (I fully realize this sounds dirty). $10 Amazon gift card if you can guess it! Tune in next week for the answer.
Anyway, first we must get to the previous question.
Three weeks ago, I asked you about 5%. The question was this:
Would you take a 5% rate of return for the rest of your life?
The Financial Samurai had stated in a recent post that he’d take if for the rest of his life:
If I could get a steady 5% overall net worth return every year, I’d probably take it.
When I asked the question, I purposefully left out the issue of inflation to spice up the conversation. I was hoping that The Samurai would chime in and he did:
The thing people have to realize is that inflation and interest rates will likely be low for decades to come. Information, technology, experience, productivity, and international monetary coordination are the reasons.
5% a year is 3% above the current risk free rate of return. If you can earn 5% with little to no risk, that is HUGE on a decent financial nut.
Here is what the rest of you had to say.
Many of you would not take 5%:
I want to know how the The Russian Guy gets 10%!:
I assume it’s a tricky question, but I wouldn’t go with 5% when I can get 10% average.
Big No from Mr. Tako:
5% only looks good in today’s environment.
If you could go back in time to the 1970’s and ask this same question, they’d laugh in your face. Of course they wouldn’t take it! With long term bonds returning 10-15%, 5% looks like a terrible joke. That was the 1970’s.
No I wouldn’t unless I was much older. I’m too young, dumb, and greedy I guess. Why settle for 5%?
I’d pass. I think major reason being if today someone gave me the option to have an add-on CD at a fixed rate of 5% I would add it to my portfolio but not make it my entire portfolio. I prefer the risk of the stock market and the historical return it provides. The difference in 5% and 8% a year compounded annually has a vast difference especially as you get to year 30 and 40.
And, in the “I would take it” camp:
I like what Income Surfer had to say:
We would absolutely take a steady 5% annually on part of our portfolio, provided it was a safe and guaranteed return. With the rest of our portfolio, we would seek the lumpier returns we typically experience. A 5% nominal return exceeds the typical rate of inflation over the last 100 years, so it would allow your purchasing power to grow. You’d feel like an idiot in the 1970s and early 1980s…..but a rock star at many other times
A guarantee makes planning life easier. It may not be the wisest choice, but I would take it. And sleep better for it
I would take 5% guaranteed with the 25x expenses that makes me FI, knowing I could live with a 5% withdrawal rate indefinitely without drawing down from principal.
I think I would take it at this point. Remember it would count on savings and cash which right now earns zero for most people, and probably less than 1% if you’re on the high end.
Personally, I also think that the stock markets are going to be flat or at a smaller yield than normal over the coming decades.
Steve from ThinkSaveRetire:
Hell yeah, I’d take a guaranteed 5% for life (even knowing that my investments will probably net me more). Why? Because if I desire more dollars in the future, I can add to that pot of money, and while the 5% remains the same, the number of dollars that I get out of it increases. Percentages rock.
Reader Jeff has a smart answer:
This 5% for me would all depend on my age/place in life.
20’s – Nope
30’s – Nope
40’s – Nope
50’s – Maybe (only if financial independence was a year or two away to avoid a major crash for security/planning purposes)
60’s – Yep (in retirement, would rather worry about what I am going to do tomorrow than watch my bank account and stressing over annual returns)
Before I asked the question, I did a lot of thinking about whether I’d take 5%. For my answer, I’ll assume the number doesn’t adjust for inflation. My investment egg is worth about $1,100,000, so 5% would give me about $55,000 the first year. Since I only need about $40,000 to live on, the 5% would be more than enough. In 12 years when my home is paid off, I’ll need $12,000 less, making it that much better.
Making 5% is even more tempting given the current state of the stock market. Mr. Bull Market has had a long run and valuations are high. Jack Bogle himself has said that we should expect only a 6% return for the next 10 years. I think that even 6% may be an optimistic number, so 5% is very tempting.
However, I wouldn’t take it. Over the next 4 to 5 decades that I have left to roam the planet, I think I can do better than 5%. Not much better, mind you. I’d take 7% in a heartbeat and maybe even 6%. I just can’t pull the trigger on 5% at this stage in my life or portfolio. If I had $2,000,000 or was over 50 years in age, my answer may be different…
Ask the Readers: Tell me about a Ridiculous Purchase
So, I’m about to blow $500 on something silly. I’m no stranger to buying silly things:
- Drone: $300 (still hovering)
- New Honda Element: $20,000 (still going, 165,000 miles and counting, but used cars are always a better deal)
- Almost 5000 square foot home: $400,000 (we sold this turd when we figured out it was a horrible move with equally horrible neighbors)
- Skateboard: Queue the broken arm
Tell me about a silly purchase you made. And also let me know what you think my $500 ball machine is…
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
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Physician on FIRE says
I also bought (built) an oversized expensive home, and lost a bunch of money when we were finally able to sell.
Dropping $100 to $150 for the privilege of punishing my body and risking grave injury seems like a ridiculous purchase. But when my high school buddies want to run a Spartan or Tough Mudder, I haven’t been able to say no.
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Not a pitching machine, although you’re on the right track…
Bridal party attire. $300 dress. $50-$100 shoes. $75 for hair and make-up. $50-$100 for what goes under the dress. $50-100 for accessories (purse, cover up, etc.) Smile and nod and pretend you’re going to use them again.
I do like weddings, but it drives me crazy that men pretty much shave, run a comb through their hair and rent a tux (that comes with shoes!) Why can’t I rent what I need too?
I’m always amazed how much some spend on weddings! At what point does it lose it’s meaning?
Thias @It Pays Dividends says
I’m guessing a tennis machine?
When I was 16, I purchased subwoofers and an amp and put them in my Ford Tauraus. I probably spent over $500 on all of it. The sound quality was terrible and the installation job probably wasn’t the best. I ended up disconnecting them after 6-12 months and ripped them out shortly after. It was all worth it when I sold it all for $60…
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Tennis machine. Close, very close, but not it.
Subwoofers! I may have had some as a dumb teen too. Now, I’m the guy who curses at the teens with them…
Believe Fire says
Tennis Ball Machine?
We’ve both made some ridiculous purchases in the past, but I’m ashamed to admit I have dominated this category. Season tickets for an NBA and NFL team in the same year! I’d elaborate but I plan to write a post about it someday. Sure wish that money would have been invested instead.
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The Green Swan says
New basketball hoop, lowered to 8 foot with breakaway rims? Btw, you didn’t say how much the skateboard / broken arm set you back…hospital bills can be ridiculous.
I bought solar panels for my house, pretty ridiculous sounding, but I made a decent financial argument for the purchase.
The Green Swan recently posted…My Actively Managed Funds
Not a hoop. White men can’t jump. I can barely run.
Skateboard was like $75 and no broken arm, yet…
Eric Bowlin says
I spent some dough on an X-Box one and Kinect that I play maybe 3 times a month. Huge money waster…but I’m glad I spent it when I’m playing on those few times a month.
Oh yea and the group games are really fun to play (fruit ninja anyone?).
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Matt @ Distilled Dollar says
Sam brings up great points, but I think Jeff hit the nail on the head for me. As time goes by, I would happily settle for a 5% return, but while I’m young, I’m more inclined to expose myself to market volatility in the hopes of having a slightly higher average return.
$300 dress shirt. It wasn’t intentional, which makes it even more ridiculous for me. Long story short, it was “free,” and I was allowed to return it if I didn’t like it, according to the sales woman. What she left out was that if I returned it, I could only replace it with another shirt or store credit, as opposed to receiving my $300 back.
Jeff from Jersey says
First two things come to my mind….An authentic disco ball from Studio 54 (would look great on that almost finished porch, and would raise your street cred among the neighborhood “swinging” contingent) or something having to do with Paintball? Perhaps a state-of-the-art paint ball gun with an automatic ball feeder. Could also speed up and last minute painting projects.
In terms of ridiculous purchases, this one has to be my worst – the Apple Newton – the entire summer’s earnings down the drain on that one in high school. I realize that admitting this level of gross financial negligence may lead you to block me from the blog, but I hear admitting the problem is the first step to recovery.
Hope you and Mrs. 1500 have had a great start to the summer!
Disco ball for the porch! Holy crap,that wasn’t it, but I LOVE the idea. I’m sooo doing it.
Apple Newton! Now there is a blast from the past!
Just purchased a $500 6′ metal ring that you spin and do acrobatics in. Check them out they’re pretty cool looking, “Cyr wheel”. As the weeks go by and I’m still struggling with learning the basic waltz, the expenditure is seeming more ridiculous.
Whoah, intense! Post pics!
I think it’s a Pinball machine…
We purchased a Wii U on a whim for about $500 right after they came out, including extra controllers and a few games. We don’t have kids, so it was just for our own entertainment. We played it more often when we first got it, but I can probably count on one hand how many times we have played in the last 2 years. My husband has been saying it is time to sell it, I just can’t imagine how little we will get for it.
Not a pinball machine…
My guess is a tennis ball machine which my dog would like to borrow if it is. I haven’t played tennis in probably 5 years, used to be one of the sports I’d play with my dad.
I’ve spent about $1200 total helping an ex move recently. She screwed up and $800 went poof gone right away. She was never really independent and I’m just very nice even though she’s done some crappy things, just trying to get her on her feet.
Not sure if that’s ridiculous, some friends and family think it is. I did buy a surround sound system over the winter, spent around $700, i think it’s retail worth around $1500. $200 for a guitar i didn’t need was probably the most ridiculous, i ended up hanging it in my office and play it for short bursts when i take a break.
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I love tennis too and you’re close, but not quite.
One can never have too many guitars…
It’s the Robo-Pong 2040, table tennis robot.
Wow, almost exact. I’m going with the 1050.
It’s the weirdest thing, I googled “TT table-top robot” for work, which is kind of a Japanese CNC machine. And a bunch of ads popped up for Robo-Pong at the top lol. Didn’t know they existed.
Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes says
Hmmm…a ridiculous ball machine for $500? I didn’t think Mr. 1500 was too into sports….but he does bike. How about some kind of fancy ball-bearing for the ebike? That would be pretty ridiculous!
In truth, I’m probably the king of money wasters…I’ve wasted money on nearly anything and everything. Probably the worst offender of all the money wasters, has to be money wasted on new cars.
That new car smell is practically like a drug for irresponsible spending.
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I don’t enjoy watching sports and I’m so uncoordinated that I don’t enjoy playing them either. This does have to do with sports, kind of. I think it is in the olympics. Then again, so was synchronized swimming…
The amount of money spent on window coverings in our bedroom…our dogs keep destroying them. Its truly absurd. Is there such a thing as dog proof drapes??
I like pinball, but that’s not it.
My most recent ridiculous purchase…..the 10 minute deliciously yummy milkshake (after pizza, popcorn, and wine) that not only took one of my $10 bills (“millionaire’s are made $10 at a time” – MMM after all) that quickly made my tummy remind me why I don’t usually do that!
Pinball machine! That’s what I’d waste $500 on. 😉
Jim @ Route To Retire says
There’s no doubt that your buying a gold-plated bocce ball set. Please let me know when you’re ready for my address for the gift card. 🙂
I too have made some wonderfully brilliant purchases in my day. Gadgets have always been my thing (but I’m getting better). I remember buying the Windows Mobile phone way back before smart phones were popular so the cost was astounding… all for something you use for a couple years and then it becomes a useless brick.
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Gold plated bocce ball! Nope.
The Jolly Ledger says
I vote juggling! I have made so many silly purchases, it is hard to name just one. How about $156,000 in restaurants and disposable junk over the last 10 years?
Juggling! I wish I had the coordination…
I vote pool table … Or ball crawl. No, sticking with pool table. Silly purchase … Any kitchen uni-tasker. Always a waste of money and space.
Nope. I’m incredibly horrible at pool.
So it is interesting timing on the whole 5% for life question. I think the answer to the question is completely different if you have not already made your financial nut. If you are still striving for the number, hell no you probably should not take 5%. But if you’ve accumulated 25 to 50 times your annual expenses I believe it is prudent to take some risk off the table. I’m considering taking approximately 30% of my net worth and locking it into a self built bond portfolio, which by itself would provide me with 110% of my desired retirement income. Then let the rest ride in the market. I think its interesting that on a lot of these great blogs people say hell no let it all ride & they want maximum returns, it is just a bigger pile to give to charity/family when they are gone, but my guess is once their pile gets “too big to fail” they change their tune a bit & dial the risk back.
Regarding foolish purchases, pretty much too many to list, but I would have to say a sweet Jeager LeCoultre dive watch is close to the top.
Oooh, watches are cool. I’m afraid to look at what that one costs…
I’m going to step out on a ledge and guess a billiards table. Not exactly a ball machine, but everyone else has stolen my other guesses.
My most ridiculous purchase was a $20,000 contract with a high-end basement renovation company to finish my rec room in my basement. Mrs. Superhero and I signed the contract and put down 10%, awoke with a horrible feeling the next morning, and cancelled the deal immediately. Due to the stupidity factor, I think it is still worth mentioning.
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Billiards! Nope! I’m horrible at it and I like to stay away from things which I only embarrass myself at…
My first guess is golf lessons. Next guess is a ball pit for the end of the zipline from the tree house. 🙂
Ball pit for the zipline! Now that is an AWESOME idea…
Fervent Finance says
Tennis ball machine! The one that shoots the ball at you over the net. No idea how much they run, but sounds about right.
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My dog cost me like $1,500 — not total, just to purchase her from the breeder. Worth every penny because I love her more than anything, but it sounds insane. I also go to SoulCycle twice a week which is $30 per class. I obviously don’t regret that either, because I continue to go, but I thought it was an absurd amount before I started going.
I skimp on rent and transport so I can spend ridiculous amounts on food, exercise and entertainment (and pets, apparently!). Of course, most people prioritize rent and transport so they think I make ridiculous purchases all the time, but eh, whatever works for you, right?
1500, good number I say!
Yep, as long as you’re aware of where your $$$ is going and are happy with it…
Hmm……… maybe a ridiculously fancy tool of something you already own? Probably a cool one with a laser. That’s what got me…… It’s my most ridiculous purchase in that it cost more than my car is worth, but not ridiculous in the sense that I use it frequently. I bought a $4000 sewing machine. It’s got a laser, thousands of stitches, and all sorts of other cool bells and whistles. I don’t regret it in the slightest.
I do, however, regret spending so much money on nights out at the bar when I didn’t have any fun.
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Mrs. Picky Pincher says
Dang it, I knew I should have paid more attention in economics class. 🙂
A silly purchase I made?
Back in college I bought hair extensions from Amazon for $50. They didn’t even match my hair and they were obviously fake. Not. Worth. It.
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Mike M says
I say golf clubs
My guess is that you are purchasing a pool table.
Done by Forty says
If only it were Balls of Dunshire, and not Cones of Dunshire, I’d say it were a boardgame. But since that’s not an option, let’s toss in another vote for pool table.
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Hmmm, I am going to guess ping pong table. I was also think of one of the VR headsets, seems like something you might enjoy from a tech perspective, but I don’t know how that would make you a better “player” or “balls.”
Most recent ridiculous purchase: spent $280 on about 50-60 lbs of Lego from Craigslist. What can I say, I felt like playing with some Legos.
Ping pong table. Very, very close, but not quite.
Does the purchase have anything to do with beer; as in some sort of at home, DIY craft beer kit?
I’m pretty sure my most ridiculous purchase ever was the pool that came with our house. You literally go to the store, buy hundreds of dollars of chemicals, throw them into the water, and watch them dissolve into nothing. Whoever thought up this racket was a genius!
Beer could be a side effect…
Physician On FIRE says
Do we get 2 guesses? If so, my second guess is a foosball table.
If not, someone else should make foosball table their first guess.
I love foosball, but no.
All my guesses have been mentioned. I don’t recall you ever writing about golf, but since you say it will make you a better player, I’m guessing a driving range simulator. “If it works,” I’m guessing means you’re buying one used and trying to fix it up. In fact, no matter what it is, I’m guessing you bought it used and are trying to fix it up. Kinda what we all do.
Your picture of the awesome Melvin 2×4 Double IPA reminds me of 2 terrible purchases I made while living in Jackson Hole, WY. I lived there for 10 years and most years I would get a free season pass to the mountain from my employers. This was worth about $1800 and I could easily get 60-100 days of skiing out of it when my office was at the mountain. Those in Colorado will balk at this price but remember, there’s no competition in that part of the country. For the last few years I lived there, I was freelance and had to buy the pass out of pocket. In those last 2 years the number of times I used the pass was in the single digits ($200+ per day). At the time I was really overworked and if I got a day off, I only had the energy to sleep, not ski. It’s part of why I eventually moved away. I don’t have regrets as I love skiing and it was great exercise and I got to spend time with my friends, but it helped me realize that I was working too much and it was time to move on.
Not a golf simulator.
Melvin is pretty great, isn’t it?
I’m going to throw out a guess – ping pong table.
Wait, that can’t be right, that would be an AWESOME purchase. I got so many hours and hours of physical entertainment out of my ping pong table that were therefore not spent buying $7 beers at a bar or seeing a $12 movie. That bad boy paid for itself many times over in my mind.
I LOVE ping pong and you’re very, very close…
Frugal Turtle says
I can only hope it’s a pinball machine. That would be awesome!
My most ridiculous purchase would be laser hair removal. What a waste of $1200! I’ll stick with razors from now on.
Whoah, hopefully the hair didn’t come back!
Heather M says
My first thought was tennis machine but it has been guessed. How about paint ball gun?
Waste of money was a 4 bedroom 2000 sq ft house when my husband and I first got married. Pain to keep clean and yard work was a chore. Of course lost money when we downsize.
Best expensive purchase is our cockatiel. Paid $200 for him and cage. Even though it depleted the saving account at the time, he is the best unsmart decision we ever made. He is such a sweetheart and we can’t imagine life without him.
Not paint ball.
Yeah, big homes just lead to more time. No thanks.
Glad you enjoy your bird. Do those guys talk?
Is it a beer pong table??? :))
I think the lamest thing I got was some beach tchotchkes. Those dresses they always demonstrate can be worn 50 different ways….but I could only figure out how to wrap it like a towel. 😀 It’s really just a big piece of overpriced fabric!
Nope, it does have to do with pong though.
Beer pong table?
Bec M says
A table tennis robot that shoots ping pong balls at you to practise!
damn, I thought I was the first to guess it lol, I just was looking up linear actuators for work and randomly got ads for table tennis robots, ran here right away.
Finance Solver says
I don’t know if Bec M got it correct at above with the guess table tennis robot, but if Bec did not, I’m going to guess you bought $500 worth of ping pong balls! (Cause that to me, sounds ridiculous :p)
But my worst purchase has been a Dell computer that I bought when I was in college with no income. It was a $600 computer that came with a $100 discount PLUS a free TV! But the computer and the TV has been sitting in my house collecting dust for the past 9 months so I’m putting it in the ridiculous camp 🙂
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Did you go old school with a pong arcade machine/console?
I just asked the $80 remote controlled dinosaur sitting across the room from me if he can think of any silly purchases, but neither of us can come up with anything…
Quite possibly the best comment ever:
“I just asked the $80 remote controlled dinosaur sitting across the room from me if he can think of any silly purchases, but neither of us can come up with anything…”
Chris @ Flipping A Dollar says
My squat rack and weights might count. I got ~400lbs of weights, and the squat rack is awesome. It’s two stand alone arms so it can be put away. I was able to add 70 lbs to my 1 rep squat – 295 lbs. I spent over $500 on it, but did craigslist buys to get it all together. I kind of wish I got a Rogue bar instead of the one I have, but really for all the lifts I’m doing, it doesn’t really matter. If I move back towards Oly lifting, then I’ll start looking at a new bar, but then I’d probably need some rubber weights too and those are even more expensive!
Silly purchases, does my blog hosting for 3 years count? My lame attempt to own all of the Big Ten practice basketball jerseys? ( I bought Iowa and realized I don’t like 90% of the Big Ten teams including Iowa and only wear Nike) Benzo de Lorenzo?(Mercedes and my loan of 2/3 my annual salary at the time) My $800 Joseph Abboud Suit for my BIG interview with Motorola fresh out of college (no dice on the job, still own the suit, holding on to that f-o-r-e-v-e-r)
“A table tennis robot that shoots ping pong balls at you to practise!” Based on your responses this was the winner. What is wrong with you lol.
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Blog hosting. Without the blog, you never would have met me though and I’m pretty sure our meeting is a Top 1o in your life. Am I right? Am I right??
Don’t diss the ping-pong robot.
Physician on FIRE says
Beer pong table.
I’ll help you break it in.
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Ha, can a ping pong table double as a beer pong table?
The ping pong thing is ridiculous, but a kettlebell isn’t- I’ve had mine for ten years, and I like to think it keeps me in decent shape (especially when I can work up to doing turkish lifts and other complex lifts with it).
Care to direct me to a guide for kettle bell basics?
ZJ Thorne says
I took my girlfriend for a $700 third date. It was quite an experience.
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I’ll bet it was.
scott w says
I’ve wasted so much money over the years it makes me sick but probably the biggest expense that would shock smart financial people would be my custom suit for about $1000.
Believe or not, I have to say I don’t regret it. It still looks great about 13 years later but wouldn’t buy another one.
Nah, everyone has their vices. It’s all good, as long as you acknowledge it and are OK with the compromise.
Late entry here, but I think this picture sums up my most ridiculous purchase…
Not the wedding, the $2,300 elvis jumpsuit. Though to be fair, since that wedding ended in a divorce, it’s debatable what the worst financial decision was revolving around that day.
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Whoah, I have nothing to add. Except that you could maybe have a second career in ‘Vegas…