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Is collecting an idea that has crossed your mind or something you're already into?

We're not talking back issues of GQ or seashells from your last few trips to the beach, but highly valuable items that one day, even tomorrow, could be worth an impressive amount. You may already have a collection growing, or today is day one. No matter where you're at on the collecting curve, if you are into any of these five items, you're on to something. Your hobby could become your retirement fund… and then some!

Comic Books

Comic books can be a gold mineunsplash.com

Turn funny into money by rummaging through your collection of old comic books. The action may be over, but the pages are precious. Rare and vintage comic books can be worth a pretty penny as per Go Banking Rates. "A 1938 copy of Action Comics #1 sold last year for nearly $1 million at a public auction, according to Heritage Auctions." Naturally, not every comic book will yield such a high payout, but it's worth weeding through your childhood favorites to see if any have significant value. Go Banking Rates adds, "Comics with classic covers or first appearances are typically more marketable." If you want to get an estimate of what one of your books may be going for, visit Comics Price Guide for more information.

Antique Furniture

Your family's heirlooms could be surprisingly valuable unsplash.com

Before you donate Granny's creaky old rocking chair to Goodwill, consider keeping it, and any other chairs, tables, cabinets, and chests she may want to pass down, for that matter. According to Huffington Post, antique furniture could be worth a fortune, and you could literally be sitting on a pile of dough. "Furniture that was once considered classic such as china hutches and roll top desks have fallen out of favor. For collectors and wealth investors, however, there are still major pieces of antique furniture in the market." Need proof? "The Badminton Cabinet built in England in the 18th century fetched $36 million at a Christie's auction in 2004, making it the most expensive piece of antique furniture ever sold." Sadly, your future great-grandkids are not going to appreciate your IKEA bookshelves.

Watches

Watches have long been considered a valuable investment unsplash.com

Nowadays, watches are worn more for fashion than function being that we all carry around a smartphone 24/7. But for those who enjoy a fine watch or timepiece, collecting them could mean watching your savings account numbers soar. According to Huffington Post, "Christie's and Sotheby's reported selling half a dozen watches for more than $2 million apiece between June 2012 and June 2013. The most expensive watch ever sold at auction was the Henry Graves "supercomplication" watch by Patek Philippe, which sold for $11 million at a Sotheby's auction." Swiss watches are in the highest demand, so hone in on those if you're serious about scoring big one day. Only time will tell…

Stamps

Have a stamp collection? Consider keeping it! pixabay.com

These days, stamps could be more relevant than ever. With "snail mail" edging closer and closer to becoming obsolete, stamps will likely one day be a collector's item only. But we're talking about older, rarer stamps that are worth keeping stored safely to prevent deterioration. According to Go Banking Rates, "Stamps are among collectibles that are gaining value. Take, for example, the 'Inverted Jenny' stamp. Only 100 of them exist, according to CNN Money, and one that was valued at $1.6 million was auctioned off last May." A collection could be more valuable than a single stamp, though. "If your collection is organized, it will likely sell for more money," advises Go Banking Rates. Will your collection get the stamp of approval?

Wine

Many different vintages hold their value well over time unsplash.com

You may be tempted to drink your cab or pinot with dinner tonight but save those rarer bottles in your cellar and pop open a can of beer instead. Vino can be valuable, and your bottles may bring in big bucks. According to Huffington Post, "While the wine sub-index increased only by 3% last year, it increased by 182% over the decade ending in mid-2013." But which wines are the best to collect? Huffington Post claims, "By far, most investment-grade wine comes from the Bordeaux region of France. However, it was a wine from Burgundy that set a new record. Twelve bottles of 1978 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti were sold for $476,280 at a Christie's auction." For tips on collecting investment-grade wine, read Money Crashers' guide to buying bottles with promise for a payout. Cheers to a wine windfall!

Do you have a collection? Are you in it for fun or fortune?

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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