I have a First World problem: I earn $ 500,000 and I have $ 1 million in assets. Should I buy a $ 30K bracelet during a global pandemic?

I have a worldly First World problem that may or may not deserve your attention. But I read your column and I thought you could help me. It’s something that has been worrying me for a long time. Should I buy a $ 30,000 piece of jewelry?

I have a stable annual income of $ 500,000, I am debt free, my children have private college tuition and fully funded retirement, and I have an additional $ 1 million in investible assets in various bank and brokerage accounts. My husband and I are between 40 and 50 years old. We have always lived a financially disciplined lifestyle. We avoid impulse purchases, while spending generously on things we really enjoy and care about, including multi-week annual family vacations, organic food, home improvements for our hobbies, and supporting our favorite charities.

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“‘The good news is that this particular jewelry brand has held its value very well over a long horizon.’ ”

Personally, I adore quality designer jewelry and get a little excited every time I look at it on my wrist and finger. I have never spent $ 30,000 on a piece of jewelry and I feel guilty for spending so much money on something primarily for myself, not the family. This particular piece, a bracelet, has been on my radar since 2019, and I found myself coming back to it over and over again. I spent hours following the discussion threads online, researching their resale value (in case my daughter didn’t want it) and loss insurance etc. The good news is that this particular jewelry brand has held its value very well for a long time. horizon; in fact, it boasts the highest resale value in recent years, according to the top luxury consignment and resale sites. However, I don’t dare to pull the trigger: spending almost 3% of our investable assets on a piece of jewelry seems very excessive to me. I tell myself to reconsider in a few years when we hit a higher net worth to make the purchase easier to justify and bear. My husband said I should buy it sooner and enjoy it for a few more years. I realize that the look of the jewelry makes this a question of personal preference. I suppose a more generic question could be: does a discretionary expense of $ 30,000 sound reasonable in our financial situation? A lover of bracelets You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to the coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com, and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter. Dear bracelet lover, before the world and its mother pounce on you like a ton of bricks for asking this question during a pandemic, and before said world and its mother bring me down for answering your question, I will say I find your curious letter. The “$ 30,000 bracelet” is not curious. But curious nonetheless. The reason: I don’t think this magnificent, guilt-ridden obsession is really about the bracelet. The object of your desire could be anything – it could be a Tesla Model 3 or a used GT-R. It could be a Fabergé egg, an aluminum liner, or even a $ 30,000 Hermès Kelly tote bag. It’s outrageous in the way that a motor vehicle or a reindeer kitchen is outrageous. Did you know that the average cost of a light vehicle in the United States is more than $ 40,000? You can’t drive a $ 30,000 bracelet, but you can wear one and drive a $ 10,000 car to get from A to B. Who’s more worldly now?

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“’The reason: I don’t think this magnificent, guilt-ridden obsession is really about the bracelet. The object of your desire can be anything. ”

I understand. It’s exciting to buy something so outrageously out of your price range. How will that make you feel? What kind of connection will you have with this object? Will other people notice? Will you tell them how much it costs? Would owning it confirm any private ambitions you have for yourself? You are not just buying a $ 30,000 bracelet. Perhaps you are buying your way out of an old way of seeing yourself. That may or may not last. Or maybe you really believe it will bring you joy as a family heirloom, and you can resell it at the same value, or a higher value, if a prospective buyer or the real world knocks on the door. Will wearing such an item give you more confidence to walk past the most conceited members of your tennis club or the maître d ‘of the city’s most popular Michelin restaurant? Please know that I am not talking about you here. I mean anyone who spills, during a pandemic or not. About the pandemic. Researching this purchase can lift your spirits and actually help you escape the mundane. It may or may not be a coincidence that you choose now to do something so bold and new. It’s a $ 30,000 subsidy for the coronavirus. A million dollar spit in the ocean during a truly difficult year.

“For some people, spending $ 30,000 on a luxury item is a way of showing their spouse or, indeed, themselves that they are worth so much. ”

For some people, spending $ 30,000 on a luxury item is a way of showing their spouse or, indeed, themselves that they are worth so much. The diamond industry, for better or for worse, is based on that concept. You need a stone on your finger to show the world that it is true love. For others, it’s about showing the world that you can’t mess with them and, as Leona Helmsley, the queen of evil, will show the world that there are no small people, only big bags, like this woman who sued a club of field in New Jersey after a waiter spilled wine into her $ 30,000 Hermès Kelly tote bag. Would I spend $ 30,000 on a piece of jewelry if I was in your position? Probably not. You should? That is not for me to say. That’s for you to find out. The great Suze Orman would probably give you a “yes” or a “no” about it, but I’m not Suze Orman. That is not my job, nor is it my style. I’ll tell you what my style is: a chocolate brown Donna Karan pants that I bought for a friend’s wedding in New York 20 years ago. He had traveled here from Dublin. A friend took me to Saks Fifth Avenue. I was just out of college and I thought, “How expensive could they be?”

“You have formed an attachment to this bracelet, or at least to the idea of ​​this bracelet. Let it go for a moment. What else could you do with $ 30,000? ”

I got to the checkout after they were adjusted three ways starting Sunday, and the clerk told me it was $ 450. I handed him my fresh college credit card and watched in horror as the cashier raised the equivalent of a month’s rent. I was Jason, and those threads were my golden fleece. I loved those dress pants. They moved like in slow motion. I cared for them like priceless silk and, one day, I left them at a dry cleaner in Dublin. I noticed some lights were off that day, but didn’t pay attention. It was 2008. The dry cleaner went bankrupt and locked its doors. I never saw those Donna Karan pants again. What does all that have to do with your $ 30,000 bracelet? Three things. 1. This gem has something to teach you, and you don’t have to buy it to know what it is. 2. This is a pants and suits free zone. 3. Our monetary dilemmas rarely have to do with what we think they are about. You have formed an attachment to this bracelet, or at least to the idea of ​​this bracelet. Let it go for a moment. What else could you do with $ 30,000? Something different, but just as new that perhaps could also have an impact? You don’t even have to spend the money on yourself. Buy it or don’t buy it. Remember this: no matter how it makes you feel, you can feel that way without it. Regardless of the properties, origin or millenary finesse that this jewel has, its own qualities as a human being surpass it. Whatever obsession it triggers you, you can overcome it. The Moneyist: Before I give my fiancee a $ 7,000 diamond engagement ring, I want her to promise to bequeath it to my daughter. Hello MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, -1.31%, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties. The Moneyist: ‘The thought of her keeping these ill-gotten funds just breaks my ass’: My 7-year-old granddaughter lives with me, but her mother got her encouragement.