I found this whole discussion, specifically the middle parts, extremely interesting. This was primarily because you saw a lot of tension between the concept of "investment" and "waste." There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding among money that the only thing that can truly be an "investment" is something that has no obsolescence -- in other words, only gets better with age. But, really an investment should be considered an expenditure of money that leads to future money, even if the thing purchased with that initial expenditure becomes obsolete. Thus, a car can be a good investment in the same way that an education can. Or a suit a good investment in the same way a home can. One misunderstanding in the conversation here -- specifically MikeF's comment about real estate -- is of the price of happiness. For example, it is not necessarily true that $1000 more of house will make one as happy or more happy than $1000 more of suit. It just depends. So, we are left reconciling two concepts, ones that are distinct but sometimes collapse -- happiness and investment. MikeF could argue that while $1000 in house may make one less happy than $1000 in suit, the $1000 in house will last 20 years, while the $1000 in suit will last 5. In other words, that the house is the better "investment" (to the extent that we care about happiness as opposed to merely money) so long as the house makes us more than 1/4 as happy as the $1000 in suit. But, I think that this ignores that the hapiness the suit brings could actually translate into a pure money gain. For example, you feel better in your suit, so you work harder and longer (happy people are better workers), and then you make more money. So, I guess my point is that as long as our purchases are functional, then they may or may not be both creators of happiness AND investments. It is only when a piece of clothing is bought for nonfunctional purposes (for example, when something hangs in the closet with tags on it) that it can be argued that it is per se not an investment (or, in other words, a potential money maker). Personally, I think the true wastes of money are things like fine food and drink (meaning expensive restaurants). These are things that have short half-lives (obviously), and while they may make you happy (important, see above), they will also make you fat and thus raise medical bills and shorten your life. So, between me who likes a nice shirt but rarely eats out, and Joe Schmoe who eats out like crazy but wears a Mervyn's shirt -- tell me, who should be criticized. Anyways, I just think it is an interesting thought experiment to consider how much happiness itself can actually be an investment, both to the extent that it can earn us money and to the extent that it will lead to even more happiness in the future.