There has been some discussion and I have received a couple of emails pertaining to the question of how good of an investment the forever stamp will be when it arrives. My answer: Lousy. While on first appearances purchasing forever stamps and holding onto them may seem like a good investment, the reality is there are too many problems to ever make them an effective investment:
1. The first class stamp price is only going up $0.02 from $0.39 to $0.41.
That is an increase 4.9% The forever stamp, however, will initially be sold for $0.41 which gives you no gain at all and which is much less than you can currently get at an online bank.
2. While the postage rates are probably going to increase on a yearly basis from now on, they will be increasing at the pace of inflation. That means that any gains you see have already been eaten away in purchasing power through inflation.
3. Unless you own a stamp business, it will be nearly impossible to sell them for the current face value. Just because they have a specific face value doesn’t mean people will be willing to pay that face value for them. In fact, you can buy stamps today at 10% below their face value which makes investing in the forever stamp seem even less appealing.
4. Even if you can get the current face value for them, fees will destroy any profit you make. Auction fees, paypal fees, etc will wipe out any gains you may have thought you could make. You would need to sell the stamps in huge quantities to simply break even and not many people need that many stamps these days.
5. For those of you who would be willing to buy thousands of forever stamps to eek out a small profit, you may not be able to. The law makers figured that some would try to invest in the forever stamp, so the forever stamp is only to be distributed in “reasonable quantities” to customers according to the law.
In the end, the forever stamp is a convenience item so you don’t have to make extra trips to the post office when postal rates change in the future. While it makes sense to pick up a supply of them that will last you 6 months to a year, it makes no sense to invest in them.
Update: The forever stamp goes on sale April 12 for $0.41 – since this is the same as the new postal rates, you won’t even get a 4.9% return on your money making it even less worthwhile. In fact, the only time (ther than for convenience) to stock up on them would be right before the next stamp increase from $0.41 to a new price.