Ladies, purses are not investments

Jen Miller

I subscribe to the email list for The RealReal, which is like a high-end consignment shop that lives online. I signed up because they sometimes sell vintage items.

It was around the fifth time that they sent an email with the phrase "Smart Investments" that I questioned whether or not it was a good idea for me, or anyone, to get these emails.

The RealReal wasn't suddenly selling stock tips or advising you on which funds to buy in your 401(k) retirement plan.

Instead, it put forth as smart investments things like Chanel handbags, Hermes bangles, Prabal Gurung dresses and Tory Burch flats.

I've heard people talk about expensive makeup as an investment. A coat as an investment. A designer dress or blouse — same thing.

These comments are almost always directed at women.

Sure, you could argue that being professionally dressed and groomed can push you ahead in the workforce. And, yes, buying better-made clothes that last longer saves you money versus constantly rebuying cheap items that quickly fall apart.

But if you're trying to secure your financial future, spending $2,000 on a used handbag just because a designer's logo is stamped on its leather is not going to get you there.

(A lot of people are turned off by flashy designer labels, too. My eyes start twitching when I see that gold Tory Burch medallion.)

Women still make 77 cents for every dollar a man does. We have a longer life expectancy, too, so we have that many more reasons to squirrel away as much money as we can.

If you can afford to drop $2,000 on an accessory, then by all means, that's your choice.

But if you're like most of us and straining against the rising costs of housing, education and health care, while also trying to save for retirement, that money is better off in savings than on your shoulder or your wrist or your feet.

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