I asked myself something akin to that query 7½ years ago as I was coming off my recent firing (laid off). Having taken a rare trip out of Florida to my friend, I discovered a dilemma.
Let me hop in the Wayback machine and take you to an excerpt from an old Myspace (yes, I used that) blog post:
I recently returned from a (short) trip to an old friend. We did many interesting things and some rather ordinary ones. It was good to spend time with him and reflect on where he is now in life as I think backwards across our years together.
He is more into technology than I am, so he was able to show me some new things (well, new to me at least). I was greatly impressed with the true HD impact on today’s TVs vs. my old (but completely serviceable) 1080i projection, especially on a Blu-ray disc or HD programming.
Perhaps sensing my straying eyes, my own TV decided to act up on me upon my return. Ill-timed, to be sure, for a non-working, non-income generating person, but there’s that timing again. Just like luck, it runs both good and bad.
Ah, but blessed be the offshoot of this recession: terrible retail sales. In this one calamity, stores are nearly throwing goods at you. To wit: Best Buy had been knocking prices way down on their TV’s and offering 3 years, no interest financing. Suh-weet.
After nearly four hours in the store, I chose a 60″ (I learned my lesson on cars…buy for the future, not just what you can live with) Sharp Aqueos LCD TV. This features the new “fourth” color, where they add yellow to the traditional “red-green-blue” color mix. The TV was mounted between a Samsung and a Sony and its colors were clearly more vivid.
Of course, then came everything else. Wall-mount. Entertainment rack (can’t keep my vertical one now). Blu-ray player (with internet ready capability). Wireless back speakers for the surround sound. Professional installation for the “no cords left behind” theory.
Between the picture quality and absolutely gorgeous look of the setup, I am quite pleased with the purchase.
Back to the future (or present in this case)…
Now, here I sit, with a perfectly serviceable 60″ LED TV and my eyes are wandering once again. Yes, there’s little actual content available for them, but jeepers, those 4K TV’s sure look awesome.
Yup, there are problems. I’d need to buy a whole new mounting system. And I’d need to upgrade to the new “soundbar” technology. And I’d probably want a 4K player instead of the ol’ Blu-ray.
But, really, should I be buying a new TV? The Sharp is performing pretty well for a 7½ year old. Yes, I understand technology is like dog years, making my TV older than me. And the Sharp is acting up a little on my newer Blu-ray discs and HD streaming with a little blue highlights showing up on the screen occasionally.
It’s a major purchase. Major. Probably costing more than my previous TV set up, despite seven years of decreasing prices on technology.
Plus, what do I do with the 60″? You can’t just give those away easily…who has the room? I could install it in the bedroom, but I haven’t had a TV in that room in over a decade (I tend to fall asleep if I’m watching TV lying down).
And if I went for that choice, that’s more money to have the TV moved and mounted in the bedroom.
Yet, that’s where that question comes in: Isn’t this what I worked for? I built a career and then an investment portfolio that now stands to support me into retirement. What is all that saving and investing for if not for making my retirement more fun?
Unlike that first big screen purchase, made in a time of great financial uncertainty, I am now fairly secure in my finances and future (absent, as always, the medical disaster). The expenditure, while large, is no longer a risk to my budget.
At this point, it all comes down to simply overcoming my inherent frugality and recognizing that I’ve reached the point that satisfying my wants is what I’m supposed to be doing.
I’m leaning towards the purchase. Not falling over, yet, but leaning pretty hard. And why not…isn’t this what I worked for?