Novelty Versus Usefulness a Financial Perspective

Brett Shoemaker
2 min readJan 8, 2021

Don’t be seduced by an impulsive attraction to novelty, instead carefully examine its usefulness…

Ohhh so good right?! Here’s my interpretation…

It’s too easy to fall victim to the new and shiny, but what happens when the newness and shininess wears off? Does it retain its usefulness or does it become something you donate or give away in the future? I can name SEVERAL things we’ve bought only to almost pay someone to take from us in the future.

Here’s an example…

The creator (as well as many investors including Steve Jobs) of the failed Segway thought that it would complement transportation and even stated that it could replace cars in some major congested cities. Ultimately, the Segway failed because the novelty wore off and its usefulness disappeared. Now, the optimist in me believes that the Segway wasn’t a complete failure as it proved functional for cops in airports or during large scale gatherings and it opened the door for the new novel devices like the One-Wheel @onewheel. One Wheel is cool and I’d love to have one, but expensive for most of us because of its usefulness aimed at a small population of people. In my opinion, similarly to why the Segway never took off the way they had envisioned.

Surprisingly, roller blades have made a huge come back. Where’s my 80s/90s kids at??

Personal finance and what we spend our money on should be met with the same thought. “Will this device, thing, etc be useful in my day-to-day even once the newness rubs off”? Should be the question we all ask ourselves before completing the transaction.

Novelty = Want
Usefulness = Need

Those who succeed with money understand the difference between the two.

What’s a purchase you later regretted making?



Brett Shoemaker

Passionate Financial Coach on a journey for Financial Independence. My wife and I paid off over $600k of debt in 3 years. Now I help others do the same.