Computers: The Worst Investment Ever

November 2nd, 2005 by Benj Edwards

$4000 PaperweightI’m convinced that computers make the worst monetary investment of a physical item in history, continually going obsolete and losing 95% of their value in just a few years. As a result, I’ve spent most of my money on things that are now near-worthless. This sort of situation is probably unique in the history of mankind if you think about it. If I want some quick cash, I can’t just sell my computer that I paid $2000 for a year ago to get $2000, or even $1000. Not only since it’s used, but since it’s yesterday’s news that it is now worth bupkis. Contrast this to buying a used car for $2000. Take good care of it, and it’s probably still worth about $2000. Or real estate, which only seems to rise in value over time (unless the neighborhood goes to hell). Or, heck — even a table. You can buy one for $20 at a yard sale. It works. You use it. You can sell it for $20 if it still does its function. Nobody has come out with a “Super Table 2000” that has completely obsoleted your make and model of table. No — we who love computers pour our hard-earned dollars into elaborate gadgets that lose all their physical value in no time. I bought an iPod in 2003 that cost $400, now I’d be hard-pressed to get $50 for it on Ebay. And all these Palm and Windows CE PDA palmtop whatevers.. they’re all $500 to $1000 one year, and the next you can’t sell them for more than $100 (Thus making them, along with other dedicated gadgets like cell phones and iPods, even worse “investments” than computers).

A Fleet of PaperweightsSo here I am, years later, after spending thousands upon thousands on miscellaneous computers and electronic do-hickeys. I need to drum up some cash. The first thing a traditionalist would say is, “Why not sell what you’ve bought and make some money?” Well, I look around. Gee, don’t I have anything worth anything? What the hell happened to that ten grand I spent over the last five years? I can’t see it anywhere. I look all over the house.. it’s just not there anymore. It has vanished like money poured into a deep, deep hole. Computers are a great way to destroy value. It’s not like what my dad could do with his camera collection, circa 1970-1990. If he wanted a new camera for his collection, he’d just sell his old ones (for about as much or more than he paid for them) to make enough money to buy a new one (of course my dad’s camera collection is becoming obsolete thanks to digital cameras and rapidly losing value, but for over 80 years the technology was basically the same). But it’s more trouble than it’s worth to sell any of my old electronic devices. They’re worth more to me to have them and play with them than the $10 I can make by selling them. And that’s why it’s so easy to collect them. Nobody wants them, they’re useless to people now, and they just take up space. And that’s about when they end up taking up my space instead of theirs, for little or no cost to myself. Initial cost, anyway.

One Response to “Computers: The Worst Investment Ever”

  1. anant Says:

    my sentiments exactly same friend 🙂 🙂

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