Home » Agony Uncle » Finance with strings: a moral and cultural dilemma, for which advice is required.

Finance with strings: a moral and cultural dilemma, for which advice is required.

I imagine myself as a connoisseur of a certain category of items. I am not a collector of them, I am a specialiser. I should like to own forevermore just one of those items, rather than many. It therefore needs to be a special one. But not so special that it has no marginal utility for me, or overestimates my capability ever to beneficially maximise its usage.

(You see, it might be a Ferrari, or a McLaren, or a Lamborghini, but I’d be terrified to touch the gas pedal on any of them!)

For several weeks I have been seriously considering buying an item priced at £2500. It has all the aesthetic appeal, quality and utility I could ever wish for, but it comes from a US company that makes a lot of such items in a wide range of prices. This one is somewhere towards the lower end of the upper end of what they make. It is good, but not special.

Now, however, I have been offered another item, priced at £3500. This has the aesthetic appeal, quality and utility, perhaps to a superior degree, but also with some rarity value, as it comes from a small, specialist UK manufacturer. At present there is only one available anywhere. It is quite special and it might sell quickly and I would lose the opportunity to acquire it.

But I do not know how much of that additional £1000 is vested purely in its rarity value, or if it is genuinely buying me £1000 extra quality and utility. I cannot know, until it is in my hands.

Should I buy item A, then, I know I shall probably spend the rest of my life wishing I had had the courage to go for item B, to the point where if another comes along I would happily sell item A to acquire it. By then, it may prove difficult to afford it.

I do not currently have the cash to buy either item, however I am expecting within a few days to learn if I am able either to a) remortgage, or b) sell, my house (for reasons unconnected with my obsession), and I have taken care to build-in some extra to acquire at least item A and, at a pinch, item B.

I can ignore item B and wait a few weeks to buy item A for cash. Or, I can reserve either item for up to two weeks with 10% deposit, which I can afford – although in the case of item B it will take half exactly of my savings and there may be other priorities. Or, I can arrange a hire purchase contract, although if I can neither obtain the mortgage nor sell the house, I should not be able to afford the repayments without making a large deposit that I do not have the cash for.

Or, either item can be easily acquired on a ‘pay nothing for 12 months’ basis.

This latter course is tempting, but is a gamble. I should have the item in my hands in five days’ time. A bird in the hand, indeed!  But what if neither opportunity to raise finance were to eventuate? A forbidding tsunami-wall of debt would approach ever closer as time goes on. Should I fail to make payment in full by April 2016 I should have to commit to a repayment schedule that I could not afford on my income, at a very high rate of interest.

Tomorrow, I leave for London for a few days. Advise me, o perspicacious augur: should I settle this now with a 12-months’ payment holiday (and on which item, A or B?); pay a deposit in the hope of having more cash in good time – it might take several more weeks to come through – or postpone a decision until after the holidays, hoping not to have lost any opportunity in the meantime, perhaps by then having had confirmation of the offer of a mortgage, or with the keen interest of a buyer ringing around my little kitchen –  but still being faced with the same dilemmas as to which to try to buy, and what would be the best way?

And finally, why do I always get myself into these situations? Should I not just take up baking cakes? (My muffins keep turning out a disaster, despite using expensive cookery books and adding extra baking powder, they refuse to rise. More advice is needed on that…)

Pip pip!

UB (worried face)


Apologies to my Spammers, Lookers and Pursuers for the lengthy hiatus beween Postings, the last one being three weeks ago. I couldn’t think of much to say in the meantime, that wasn’t too deeply personal. (Another time, maybe.)

Afterlude, April 9th

The matter has been settled for me. My credit application has been rejected. That’s a relief.

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