I’m suffering from the Lost Decade Mood Disorder (LDMD) this week. LDMD occurs when index investors come to the realization that they gained almost a mere 3%, betting on the S&P 500 over the last ten years. That’s before inflation, mind you. The more commonly known symptom is retiring much, much later in life, but I’ve developed something new: finding weird investments that could have earned me a greater return than the market.
Movie Ticket Vouchers
Last week, my wife and I located some free movie ticket vouchers that we’d received from an unpleasant movie theater experience 5 years ago. Let’s just say our box of popcorn and some used gum was involved. Standing in line I noticed the price of a ticket these days (we haven’t been to the theater in 3 years) and was astounded at the cost. It made me wonder what my return would have been if I bought movie ticket vouchers 10 years ago and sold them today. According to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the average price of tickets rose $2.50 from 2000 to 2010; a return of 46%.
Debuting in 2007, the forever stamp was a new creation from the USPS. Given the propensity of stamps to continually increase in price from year to year, the snail mail barons decided to give letter senders an option to buy stamps that would appreciate with regular registered mail prices. The first forever stamp sold for $.41. Flash forward to today and the USPS is bumping up the price to $.45. A change of four cents sounds small, but in return it amounts to 9.75%.
Thanks to the appreciation of scrap metal, scrapping your five-cent piece was more profitable than spending it ever since 2006. Back in March of 2011, scrap nickel bought at about $.07 a nickel. That’s a return of 40%. Of course, there is that whole problem of it being illegal to deface currency and all. Realizing returns would require an act of congress and who thinks legislation will be passed anytime soon?
Your wedding ring is doing much better than your retirement funds. Jewelry is an obvious pick as a household item that appreciates. Right now, everything related to jewelry is providing good returns these days.
Gold is trading up over $1,800 an ounce. Diamonds increased in price by 7% just last year alone. The CPI for all jewelry is inflating into the double digits.
Of course, I don’t recommend investing in any of these items. However, it does make me wonder if I’d only put my money into movie ticket vouchers instead of a 401k, would I be looking at an early retirement?