10 Lifestyle Investments to Avoid

lifestyle investment

One of the selling tactics that I have been hearing more and more these days is to make purchases as a “lifestyle investment.” The entire term bothers me in a number of ways, but the worst part is be bringing in the word “investment” into the dialog, the salesperson is trying to make you believe that these purchases will somehow pay-off like traditional investments do.

The truth is that they will have the exact opposite effect and drain your wallet faster than most purchases. In fact, most (but not all) of these “lifestyle investments” are depreciating assets that lose a great deal of value once the purchase has been made. These are the types of items which the salesperson tries to make seem like a great idea by convincing you that it will be a marker of your social status, but the items are simply for show and will never truly make you happy. Here are some of the lifestyle investments that you should avoid if you want to truly make good financial investments with your money.

Luxury Cars

Luxury cars are one of those lifestyle investments that are better to avoid. While luxury cars can be nice to own, and will certain give a nice boost to your ego and social status, they’re not worth the money. Many people tend to splurge on luxury cars only to let them sit in their garage because they’re too afraid of ruining it. Or they end up not being able to afford the monthly payments on the car or the car’s upkeep, bringing them more trouble than joy.


In this day and age many people believe that owning a mansion or extremely large house is a status symbol they are entitled to own. If you’re financially stable enough to buy a mansion, go ahead and buy one. But if it’s something well out of your financial zone, don’t even bother giving yourself the aggravation of trying to afford it. Not many people need an overly large house to make them happy, so it’s best to avoid the idea of buying one altogether.


Timeshares have been banned from selling themselves as investments as the industry once did long ago. Not being able to do this, they simply changed their sales pitch to them being “lifestyle investments.” Timeshares are rarely a good deal and tend to be more of a money suck than anything else. After all, you’re paying to use your resort rental for a few weeks out of the year and those weeks are determined by the resort. Not to mention you have to pay any associated fees and maintenance costs and interest payments if you don’t buy the unit in full. Then when it’s time to sell, they are worth a fraction of the price you paid and sometimes it is even impossible to give them away for free. Timeshares are another luxury item you should avoid.

Expensive Vacation Homes

Like timeshares, expensive vacation homes are luxury items to avoid. Vacation homes can be a nice change of pace once a year, but they’re also very expensive and can have numerous unanticipated costs that can add up quickly. If you don’t have the financial stability to own two houses, the vacation house should go. Sure, it sounds nice to say that you have an international vacation house or a beachfront property, but it won’t be as nice when you can’t pay the bills to keep that house.

Plastic Surgery

A lot of people crave plastic surgery, but an equally large amount of people end up regretting plastic surgery after they’ve had it done. It’s usually an expensive process that insurance doesn’t cover (as long as it’s cosmetic and not medically necessary, that is) and sometimes it ends up being more money than it’s worth. It’s a lifestyle investment that you’re always going to have to maintain and might end up causing you more aggravation than you originally intended.

Designer Clothing

Designer clothing might not seem like a lifestyle investment, but it is for many people. After all, there aren’t a lot of people who can afford to pay $500 for a shirt or $2,000 for one dress. It’s nice to own one or two pieces of high end clothing, but this should not turn into a lifestyle, especially if you know it’s a lifestyle choice you can’t maintain. While there are certain designers that make quality clothing, a lot of designer clothing isn’t worth the money since you can find similar outfits or products for much cheaper on the rack.

Designer Accessories

Additionally, designer accessories are another lifestyle investment to avoid. No one truly needs to buy a $1,000 watch or $10,000 purse. These are items that aren’t necessary to your wellbeing or everyday life. If you don’t have the money to afford these items without putting yourself into debt, you should just avoid owning them completely.

Recreational Vehicles

Many people want to own recreational vehicles because they seem like they’ll be a lot of fun to use. And who hasn’t wanted to own their own boat, jet ski, snowmobile, or motorcycle? They’re flashy and fun. But sometimes these items are ones you should avoid. For instance, did you buy that boat juts because you’ve always wanted one? Have you gotten your money’s worth from it? Do you even know how to use it?

Over the Top Entertainment Systems or Tech Products

Lately it seems as if the latest over the top technology products and entertainment systems are becoming lifestyle investments that everyone thinks they’re entitled to. While it’s nice to have a huge TV or the latest smartphone on the market, you need to be careful not to go overboard on some of these products. After all, will an entire room dedicated to top of the line entertainment products really make you happy when you can’t even afford your rent or your electricity bill?

Expensive Household Furnishings

There are a lot of people who like to buy expensive household decorations to show off their wealth or their status. More often than not, the average person won’t care about these decorations or won’t be able to determine their net worth. Expensive household furnishings are something you should avoid for the sake of your bank account.

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6 Responses to 10 Lifestyle Investments to Avoid

  1. jay says:

    Every time I *attempt* to watch a show like “House Hunters” I start ranting at the folks who “need” a bigger house for their clothes/toys/stuff … why not pare down your stuff instead?

  2. Denise A. says:

    I have a ‘lifestyle investment” for you, do not spend your money on things that you don’t really need. Be a bargain shopper. Go to the library. Be happy with what you have. Reuse and up cycle. Decide to be happy if at all possible, because sometime as we all know life hands us impossible situations.

  3. Gailete says:

    >>No one truly needs to buy a $1,000 watch or $10,000 purse. <<

    At a Dr. office one day, glancing through a magazine I came upon a $18,000 Purse!!!!!!!!!!!! That is three times what we paid for our car. Who wants to carry around $18,000 on their arm and it was a hideous purse besides!!

    My SIL moved and they ended up renting a small apartment for a while waiting for their house to be finished. They insisted that where they were moving to 11 years ago didn't have any homes for less than $250,000. They lived in the house for at least 4 years before they even had furniture for one of the rooms (so obviously not using it). Why buy a hosue with more rooms than you will use? Of course, other BIL lived about a mile away form them in a modest ranch house. They wanted a McMansion but everyone seems embarrassed to say so, so they insist that there isn't anything else to buy.

  4. JoeP says:

    There are (at least) two factors that people ignore when buying a large house.

    First is furnishing, because good furniture is expensive, and typically paint, window treatments, and carpeting go along with this.

    The second is ongoing maintenance. While it might not seem like a big deal, it really can be. Bigger homes have more “parts” inside and out, and with more, these require more frequent repair. Our house isn’t huge, but I’m finding myself a little too busy with: lawn, gardens, trees, siding, drainage, windows, gutters, lights, furniture repairs, door repairs, garage cleaning, basement cleaning. Granted, these are common across most homes, but bigger homes need lots of labor.

    Also beware of some tech products. You can find yourself on a slippery slope when you buy a certain product that supports something you don’t have; for some, this opens the door for buying such products. For example, buying a home theater amplifier with bluetooth capability might entice someone to buy a lot of bluetooth devices.

  5. Linda says:

    In my opinion the most important item is family that shows you unconditional love. Beautiful homes, cars, watches jewerly etc are just things. You will be overjoyed when you first get them. But over time the ZING will go. But with family, and the love between them, you will find good mental health. And in my opinion, that’s on the very top of the list.

  6. Robert Dunn says:

    This is a great point and mostly right. I do think there are some exceptions that can be discerned if you’re objective about it though.

    To me the more legitimate interpretation of “Lifestyle Investment” is that you put money into something that has some investment value and some lifestyle benefit and that you are reducing the return of the investment to receive the lifestyle benefit.

    For example, there are beach condos run like hotels in lots of places where the units are owned and maintained by individuals who purchase them. From what I have seen it is not uncommon to garner enough income to cover all expenses (condo fees, insurance,maintenance, property taxes etc.) and maybe even net a small profit even using the unit a month or two a year.

    So the return is really “free use” where the real cost is the opportunity cost of putting the money used to purchase the condo into another investment. Those numbers can work if there is someplace you like to frequent, especially if you value the intangibles that usually come with ownership like locked owners closets (vacations without packing!), having a unit set up precisely ideally for you and your family, some extra access to common areas (like the right to keep a boat in the parking lot) etc.

    Again, lots of awful investments being touted, but the basic idea of “lifestyle investment” is not innately a bad one if you approach it with the right considerations in mind.

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