LEGO Sets Might Be a Better Investment Than Stocks, Bonds, or Gold

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iStock.com/georgeclerk

The unfortunate part of turning a profit on collectible playthings is that you can’t enjoy them. Slabbed comic books go unread; vintage Star Wars action figures are condemned to their blister-packed prisons. But for people who can somehow resist the urge to rip open that LEGO set, fortune may await. Bloomberg recently reported that the brick building kits seem to serve as a reliable asset that can pay off over time.

Bloomberg cited a 2018 study [PDF] that demonstrated a stronger return for LEGO releases than with stocks, bonds, or gold. The reason is the supply and demand typical of the collector’s market. A new LEGO set will sell for a nominal retail price; as demand exceeds inventory and the sets are discontinued, the price on the aftermarket rises. For example: A 2007 Millennium Falcon kit carried a sale price of $499.99. In 2016, it was selling for nearly $4000.

That would be considered a big score. But the study, conducted by Victoria Dobrynskaya of Russia's National Research University Higher School of Economics and independent researcher Julia Kishilova, looked at 2322 kits dating back to 1987 and found that profit existed across a spectrum of LEGO-branded products. Sets carrying Harry Potter or Star Wars themes yielded an average 11 percent annual return. Some, like a 2014 Darth Revan, went from $3.99 to $28.46 in just one year, earning a return in excess of 600 percent.

Small and large sets tended to have the greatest increase in value, the smaller due to their comparative rarity and the larger ones due to their acquisition price. Licensed sets tend to achieve the greatest returns, though Dobrynskaya found that The Simpsons sets have traditionally failed to turn a profit.

Should you begin to regard LEGO as a potential avenue for retirement income? While the property experienced a resurgence of interest when it grabbed the Star Wars license in 1999 and has remained strong ever since, there’s no guarantee demand will continue unabated. Then again, the fact that the sets have a vibrant community devoted to building means they’re also unlikely to suffer the same fate as short-lived fads like the Beanie Babies.

The bigger problem? Unlike stocks, LEGO sets are tangible, with some coming in massive boxes that need to be carefully stored so they’re not exposed to damage. They’re also subject to the same speculative dangers as conventional investing. If you bought that Millennium Falcon, it's worth bragging about. If you decided to stock up on sets related to Atlantis or the 2010 movie Prince of Persia—which bombed—the price could sink. Like a bad real estate deal, you could be stuck with little more than a pile of bricks.

[h/t Bloomberg]

This Service Will Deal With the Logistical Side of Your Breakup for $99

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iStock.com/LightFieldStudios

In the aftermath of a breakup, it can be hard to do anything but watch sad movies and eat ice cream in bed. But your broken heart isn't the only thing that needs attention when a relationship ends: If you shared a living space with your ex, you'll also have to deal with finding a different place to live, moving out, and furnishing your new space. Fortunately, the newly single don't have to navigate this process alone. As Fast Company reports, Onward is a new concierge service based in New York City that handles the practical aspects of a breakup so you can focus on recovery.

Onward wants clients to see breaking up as an opportunity to start a new phase of life, and to get you started on that path, they begin by finding you a new, temporary place to live. The service has connections with furnished, short-term rental options in the city that are ready for new tenants. The utilities and paperwork have already been figured out for you, so all you need to worry about is moving in. Onward will send over packers and movers to help you move out of your old place and move on with your life as quickly as possible.

If you're having trouble processing your emotions after a breakup, Onward offers support in that area as well. Instead of weeding through tons of therapists on your own, the service narrows down your options to one to three vetted mental health professionals within your insurance network in just 24 hours. A 10-day package from Onward, which includes housing placement, packing, moving, and mental healthcare search assistance, starts at $99.

Onward's services couldn't come at a better time—the number of U.S. adults in cohabiting relationships rose from 14 million to 18 million between 2007 and 2016. That means many couples who break up have to deal with the same complications of divorce without the legal guidance. And finding a new place to live can be expensive, which keeps many people from moving on: According to one survey, 28 percent of people cite financial security as a reason for staying with their current partner.

Services like Onward can not only help the recently dumped, but also those who have been putting off pulling the plug on an unsatisfying relationship. You can sign up for their service after answering a few questions on their website.

[h/t Fast Company]

Here's How Much Money You Need to Retire Early in Each State

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iStock.com/katso80

If you're complacent with your career, your goals might be limited to grabbing the last office doughnut. But if you have an eye on retirement, you might be wondering how much it's going to take to walk away from the desk forever.

Cost information website How Much has compiled estimates of the savings residents of each state might need in order to retire early at the ages of 35, 45, and 55. The site used figures from GoBankingRates that looked at the cost of living in the various regions and then estimated annual expenses based on age with an average 4 percent withdrawal rate annually.

If you wanted to retire at age 35 in Ohio, for example, having $1.61 million in your savings account would be ideal. In California, you’d need $2.37 million.

An infographic shows how much money is needed to retire at age 35 in each state
howmuch

An infographic shows how much money is needed to retire by age 45 in each state
howmuch

An infographic shows how much money is needed to retire by age 55 in each state
howmuch

The site cautions that this is an oversimplification of what should be some highly individualized financial planning. Everyone has different needs, and the numbers don't account for inflation or for adjusting the 4 percent annual withdrawal. In short, this is nothing you should pass along to your accountant. What these charts can do, however, is spark motivation to make your own plans for having a comfortable retirement. If you want to spend it in Hawaii, it might be best to start saving now.

[h/t Thrillist]

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