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February 15, 2018
Do you ever get your best ideas in the middle of the night, only to forget them by morning? Or while showering off your cobwebs in the morning, great ideas get showered away by the time you step out of your shower stall? Happens to me all the time. Now I try and write down the ideas before they disappear forever. Us boomers are supposed to be entering the "golden age" - an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. Still, there are some good things to be said about retirement, not the least of which, health permitting, we get to make choices which were unavailable during our 9-5 regime. We can choose to sleep in, or not; we can dally over a cup of tea or coffee and read the paper (for those that still like a newspaper); we can choose many things which were not an option during our work careers.
Many of us have kids who would fall into the millennial category (kids born roughly during the last twenty years of the twentieth century). I recently sat through a seminar led by a millennial. I don't recall much of what he said other than his complaint that his generation was giving him a bad name. Half of them, he said, work hard and are contributing strongly to our society. The other half are either still at home "finding themselves on their parent's dime", or wandering from job to job and never really finding their "calling". I'm not sure if those statistics are accurate but it's probably not far off.
Many of us "boomers" are downsizing our lifestyles. As empty nesters, we no longer need the large house or many of the gadgets which were so essential in raising our families. Things which at one time were really important in our lives, no longer find usefulness in our current life cycle. And therein lies one of our greatest dilemmas. "What do we do with things we no longer need or want!!!??" Large bulky furniture, bone china dinnerware, silver flatware, figurines, jewellery, and more. After our kids have said "no thanks", what are our options? Kijiji, eBay, thrift stores, and garbage, all come to mind. (Maybe target practice for some.) My wife and I have gone through this life cycle and there's no one answer which works for everyone. If storage space is not a problem, then saving some items for the next generation may work. After all the fashion pendulum does swing back and forth and what's old today may be new tomorrow. We are seeing "vintage" styles creeping in with many products today.
Allow me to focus briefly on my specialty, fine jewellery and luxury watches. Many of us have been the recipients of jewellery and watches from our parents or grandparents, as well as having received gifts from our loved ones to commemorate special occasions. We have enjoyed these lovely items for many years but now find out that our kids have little interest in receiving them upon our passing away. What to do? Most fine jewellery will have a residual cash value. If it's karat gold, the minimum cash value would be its meltdown value based upon current gold bullion pricing. If it's gold-plated or sterling jewellery, it has virtually no residual value. However, large quantities of sterling do have a meltdown value. Items of jewellery with significant diamonds or coloured gemstones will have a value greater than just the metal content. In particular, diamonds over one carat or larger, and natural coloured gems like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, may also have substantial dollars hidden within. The question remains as to how do I cash in? A starting place would be to visit your own favourite jeweller. Many jewellers, but not all, will gladly sit down with you and go through your "shoebox" of jewellery to determine whether there are any hidden items with a cash value. There are alternatives like Kijiji or eBay, but I have found that many people of my generation are not overly excited about using these mediums. My wife has on several occasions had personal items of jewellery redesigned and then passed them on to our children. This has worked quite successfully.
Watches are another product category which may have residual value. In all honesty, though, this applies primarily to the upper-end luxury brands. Fashion watches carry virtually no residual cash value. But high profile brands like Rolex, Omega, IWC, and numerous others, do carry a reasonably strong value in the secondary market. Your disposal options will be similar to the jewellery options mentioned above.
I am fortunate that, although retired, my boys, who now own the business, have not locked me out. And with that in mind, I'd like to make a proposal which may be helpful to some of you. If you do not have your own jeweller, I'd be willing to meet with you and help you go through your jewellery to see whether you have anything of value. If you do, and with no pressure to accept, we could make you an immediate offer for either cash or a credit within the store. The credit would in most cases be higher than the cash offer. If this is of interest to you, feel free to email me here. As I am not in the store every day, we'd have to work by appointment.
Well, this has gone on somewhat longer than expected, so until next month, I remain...
The Retired Guy