As 2015 begins, consumer advocates and financial news outlets are offering a lot of sobering advice to live within your means. I chuckle because that comes after a couple of months where every retailer and television commercial has urged you to buy, buy, buy. They also told you to avoid purchasing service contracts to cover you in case something goes wrong with the expensive gear you purchased over the holidays.
That’s advice I followed until recently, when I bought a pair of headphones for my son. As an aside, apparently I missed the moment when a pair of headphones became a luxury purchase. But I wanted my gamer son to have a quality pair that could endure his heavy usage — and should they break, I wanted the ability to replace them.
I take the headphones to the Guitar Center checkout counter and a nice young man asks me if I wanted to get coverage for the headphones.
So after careful consideration, I went all in and bought a service contract.
Sure, in a perfect world we all would set aside a certain amount every month in a Murphy’s Law fund to handle unexpected repairs and other surprises life throws at you. I’m a subscriber to Consumer Reports and I understand the arguments. But in the place where I live — the place where theory meets reality — you have to come up with a solution that meets your individual needs. For me — with a kid in college, a home mortgage, two car payments and setting aside money for retirement — I’m living the American dream, 21st Century style. After everyone gets paid, fed and clothed, there’s not much left to put into the break-glass-if-needed fund.