“The secret is to only acquire things where the resale value doesn’t matter to your overall satisfaction. That’s one reason there’s a huge difference between investing in stocks and owning a home.” – Seth Godin

During the past couple of years many people convinced themselves that buying stuff, whether it be a NBA Top Shot, NFT or whatever, was a path to riches. Buying something with the sole intention of selling it later at a (hopefully) higher price isn’t collecting, it’s speculation.

There’s nothing wrong with speculation done with the right attitude and capacity to take on losses. The problem is when it happens without forethought. Most people aren’t more satisfied with their living room because Zillow said their house went up in value last month.

Even if you don’t care about something’s resale value it can still change how you think and feel. Rubin Miller at Fortunes and Frictions has a great post up talking about how even when we know better we can still make money mistakes. Let’s just say it involves, a big, beautiful, expensive white couch.

Unfortunately for Miller that couch has taken up space inside his head rent free. What should be a source of joy has become a source of anxiety. Money spent is more than a change in your bank account balance, it can also change who we are. He writes:

Don’t buy things that will turn you into something you’re not.

People don’t necessarily know ahead of time what will give them joy. Sometimes you just have to figure it out through trial and error. Do try to recognize when you are crossing a line into mere speculation or personality modification.

There are plenty of ways to be more intentional about your spending, but it starts with paying attention. Paying attention to the waters in which we consumers swim and our own thoughts and feelings.

In the end, take solace in the fact that when you are gone, no one else will likely want your stuff. So enjoy it while you can, and if not, simply move on.