Everyone has them— depreciating assets. What are they? Assets that lose value over time rather than gaining value. It isn’t possible, it seems, to avoid purchasing a car, major appliances and electronics. They are financial realities. However, the trick is to purchase what you need rather than what you want and to be aware up front what depreciation rates assets can have. There are some assets you probably could do without if you took into consideration how fast they depreciate. If you can’t do without them, take special care in acquiring them.
Common Depreciating Assets
Timeshares: Many people purchase them without realizing the money holes they can become. Unlike the majority of standard real estate, most timeshares lose 50 percent of their value immediately upon their purchase from a resort. Additional depreciation, up to 90 percent, occurs over the next few years.
Boats: There is a reason why boat owners often lament that the two happiest days of their lives were the day they bought their first boat and the day they sold that same piece of property. The dream of boat ownership is quickly absorbed in the reality of the expense such ownership entails. Boat rental may seem an expensive alternative, but it is usually far less expensive than to own your own. Your own boat is usually a depreciating asset you could do without.
Recreational vehicles: Just like cares and boats, RVs love a large percentage of their retail value the minute you depart from the dealer’s parking lot and they continue to lose value as they age. Few people use RVs as much as they expect to when they plunk down the purchase price. Add the costs of gas and the space rental many people have to pay for the RVs when they are not in use and ownership doesn’t make much sense.
Luxury cars: There is not much chance of avoiding a car purchase forever, but keep in mind that it is a depreciating asset. To get the most out of your purchase, focus on what you really need, not what suits your ego or what will keep you in the running with the Joneses. A used car in good condition has already seen much of the initial depreciation priced out. The corollary is someone who wants to have the benefit of gold’s stability and buys jewelry instead. You can’t have it both ways.
Electronic Gadgets: They not only depreciate, they do it quickly. Owning the latest and, purportedly the greatest in computers or electronic gadgets may be popular, but it also is the least cost-effective option. The latest models always come with a premium price. Last year’s model is usually just as effective for most people. And last year’s models will be heavily discounted as soon as the new model appears on the horizon. Make sure your purchase checks out with your wealth building plans.
The prospect of any large purchase should trigger the question: “Do I really need this?” If the answer is “Yes.” proceed wisely. Opt for the product that fulfills your actual needs at the best possible value. Depreciating assets eventually affect your finances, so avoid them when possible and consider devaluation as one of the factors to evaluate as you make your purchasing decisions.