Chanel vs. Stock Options
There is something magical about owning a Chanel bag.
Unfortunately, this is not a feeling some men seem to share. There is also a lot of fun in owning some high-risk stock options. Fortunately, many women care little about that. Let me tell you what I mean.
I have never made any serious money on the stock market. But, I have been the lucky owner of a Chanel purse for almost a decade, and I can attest that it has been my accessory thousands of times. It goes well with any outfit: jeans and striped shirt, business suit and, of course, a little black dress. Now that I think about it, I can say I use it almost daily. In the past seven years it has become a part of me – a part of my identity.
Being a financial person through and through, I often think that for every time this designer masterpiece has accompanied me, it has cost me just short of a dollar, and has uplifted even the most mediocre outfits.
You can understand how I feel, then, when I hear some husband (or soon-to-be-ex) complaining that his wife dropped a few thousand dollars on … a Chanel bag.
It particularly fascinates me that those same husbands (or soon-to-be-exes) forget to mention how much money some of them splurged on hockey games, beer nights and insanely expensive stereo systems, or how their entire bonus vanished because of unlucky bets on the stock market.
It was when I was preparing a financial statement for one couple that one husband kept lamenting about his wife spending almost $3,000 on a purse. He was so upset about it that we could not move forward until this issue was somehow addressed. I kept wondering if
Chanel was a reason for their separation.
I stopped my billing clock, brewed him a cup of tea and asked him to take a deep breath and open his mind. This is what I told him:
You can buy a purse for $60, but shortly afterward it will either fall apart because of its low quality or you will start hating it. So, you buy another one, of a different colour, then another one, of a different style, and then another one – just because.
It’s not unusual for women to hit the shopping malls and buy, buy, buy in the hopes of getting satisfaction. My own observations have found that hundreds of hard-earned dollars are spent every year in this kind of frenzy.
In five years, you can easily spend $1,500 in the search for the right “look”. But the look is not there. Time and money are spent, and the walk-in closet is cluttered. But, with a designer purse, your enjoyment lasts for years, even decades. This is why there is a market for vintage and retro designer items – because even a simple outfit lasts and looks chic. Plus, there is always a secondary market for these items, and any Chanel item will sell on such online marketplaces as eBay and Kijiji in a matter of few days.
It breaks down like this:
$100 per month (or $1,200 per year, or $12,000 per decade)
$0 (0% of original value) plus clutter and disappointment
$2,500, enjoyed for 10 years = $20 per month
$1,000* (30-50% of original value) plus lots of fun and enjoyment
*if kept in good condition, which is likely given the quality of the piece and your attitude toward it.
My client was astonished by this simple math and agreed that his wife appeared to be not only a woman of great style but also of great mind.
When I suggested to review his stock option losses, he politely suggested we leave it for another time. And I know why. When compared to many high-risk, volatile investments, a designer purse – lovingly made, carefully crafted and consistently treasured – can make a lot more sense.
This couple did not proceed with a divorce. I saw them in downtown Toronto some time later: well-dressed, happy, holding hands. And she, of course, was carrying her beautiful Chanel purse.