Investing In a Weak Economy

People get stupid in different types of economies. In a strong economy, collectable investors seem to be overly confidante and frivolous. In a weakened economy, those same investors seem to be timid and stubborn. I am sure this sounds all too familiar to many of you, and personally, I have been accused of being both. Such simple actions and behaviors may contribute to questions about the causes of a weakening economy, and its duration. In a strong economy, most collectable investors tend to over-spend for single collectable investments. When the economy inevitably weakens, these same investors are stuck with single investment items because other buyers are unwilling to purchase items that are either over-priced or that have a selling price that is too high for a single collectable item. Without a doubt, strong buying continues in the collectable market, even in a sagging economy; however, as collectors become smarter, they are staying with lower-end items to protect themselves against adverse economic situations. I am confident in stating that although the total unit numbers for collectable purchases has increased every year since I began collecting in 1975, the prices per item have decreased recently, due to the sagging economy. This scenario of increases in total purchases and decreases in overall prices per item has created huge investment potential. I am not suggesting you go out and be a bull collectable investor in a weak economy. I am saying that your collectable investing needs to be balanced and adjusted based on your own personal economic situation. Your investment strategy should always be the same, regardless whether you are buying stocks, houses, Hall of Fame trading cards, coins or comic books. Your strategy for purchasing collectable investments should contain two key components: assortment buying and buying lower-cost collectables. Both components will protect your collectable investment potential.

How does assortment buying protect investments? Buying assortments of collectables is your best tool for protection from the bad choices we can all make when buying the collectables we enjoy. Let me keep this strategy simple. If you buy one collectable item and it goes down in price, you are working at an investment loss. If you spend the same amount of money on ten different items and three go down and the other seven go up, you are working at an investment gain. In the ten purchases scenario, you can make three bad choices and still come out ahead, verses the one purchase scenario, where you will have an investment loss.

Farmers are smart people. Remember the old adage: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” An example of this, as it pertains to trading cards, might be that if you spend all your collectable investment money on a football rookie card, or on a football player autographed 1/1 card, and when a 300-pound lineman falls the wrong way on the leg of your investment cards’ player on Sunday, YOU’RE BROKE! Think before you buy and try these two strategies, instead. Buy an assortment of your favorite players that have already played the game and established a great career and who cannot get injured in a way that can hurt your investment; or, use part of your collectable investment money for buying newer rookies, and part of your money for purchasing Hall of Famers that have already accomplished a career. Buy your collectables in a variety to protect yourself from bad collectable investment mishaps that you cannot control. Keying on one player, in one moment in time, is as absurd as taking all your hard-earned money and betting one number on a roulette wheel. I understand that works on television. The TV star always hits it big or has a rich relative who bails him out in the final minutes of the show, but that’s just not real life.

The second component in your investment strategy should be the purchasing of lower-cost collectables; that protects investments. The reasoning behind this is simple. More people have one dollar in their pocket than one thousand dollars. I know this may be simplifying this strategy; however, you must think when you are buying collectables that one day you may want to sell the items you are buying. This does not have to be your total focus when buying, but it should be part of your decision making process. Let say, for example, that when the time comes to sell, your marketing strategy is to sell your collectables at a trade show. If you were to poll each buyer at the show on how much money they want to spend on collectables, you would have an assortment of different dollar amounts. Some buyers will be willing to spend twenty dollars, a fewer number will be willing to spend fifty dollars, even fewer will be willing to spend a hundred dollars, and so on. One thing remains constant with each of the trade show buyers. The few buyers who are willing to spend a thousand dollars will also be willing to spend only twenty dollars; however, the buyers who are willing to spend only twenty will not spend a thousand dollars. To conclude this simple point, if you have a twenty-dollar collectable, your potential greatly increases to sell it if every buyer at the show has that minimum amount to spend on a collectable. If you have a thousand-dollar item to sell, your pool of potential buyers decreases astronomically if that is the maximum amount only certain buyers at the show have to spend.


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