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Dave Says: Selling Sentimental Stuff

Dave Says
Author Biography

Dear Dave,

How do you decide whether or not to sell collectible memorabilia when you’re getting out of debt?

William

Dear William,

In most cases, there’s a pretty wide spectrum of emotional involvement when it comes to this sort of stuff. I mean, there’s a big difference between having a baseball signed by Mickey Mantle from a day that you and your dad met Mickey at the stadium, and buying a baseball a few years ago that he autographed and seeing it has gone up in value.

With the first, I’d be tempted to tell you to keep it unless you’re literally about to lose everything. In it, you have a deep, emotional connection — a personal story about you, your dad and one of the greatest baseball players of all time. It was a sentimental, once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. In the second case, it’s just a purchase you made as a hobby. That kind of thing can go without a whole lot of thought. If what you own doesn’t have some kind of deep sentimental and emotional connection to family or a major life event, then it’s just stuff.

I hope this helps a little, William. There’s nothing wrong with having some nice things. But there’s a big difference between you having things and your things having you. Never let “stuff” stand between you and your family’s sense of security and financial well-being!    

—Dave

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