Groucho Marxfamously said that while money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.
Having wealth is often associated with acquiring material possessions. These trappings of wealth may give the appearance of success, despite studies about happiness suggesting that spending our money on experiences tends to make us happier than buying things.
When considering your own personal finances, what would you describe as your most treasured possessions? According to some new research, it’s not the gadgets and technological devices we treasure most, but what we might consider to be sentimental items.
New trends data from Admiral Home Insurance found that the family photo album tops the list of most treasured possessions in 2018.
They found a bit of a gender divide on this subject, with women picking framed photographs as their second most treasured possession and men choosing tablets such as iPads and laptops, followed by their televisions. It suggested that women placed sentimental items above the technology chosen by men.
Admiral also found that men were more likely to consider their watch or music collection as treasured possessions. Women placed greater value on gifts made by their children, and also certificates.
Admiral asked survey participants which single items they would choose to save in the event of a disaster, such as a house fire. This is a worthwhile hypothetical exercise, as it can say a lot about what is most important to us in life, allowing us to manage our personal finances with these personal values in mind.
Most common items to save in a disaster for all age groups were photographs, jewellery, watches and technology, including tablets/laptops, TVs and mobile phones.
Despite having seemingly strong feelings about the sentimental value of the items within our homes, more than a third of those surveyed admitted to never having accurately valuing their home contents.
The worst culprits when it came to this valuation question were those in the 45-54 year age bracket, with nearly half of this age group saying they had never properly worked out the value of their possessions.
Noel Summerfield, head of home insurance at Admiral, said:
Whilst the things we treasure most in our homes may be sentimental items or our favourite gadgets, and not necessarily the most expensive things we own, it’s still vital that consumers protect themselves by having the right level of contents cover, regardless of whether they own or rent their home.
In the event of theft, or a disaster where a claim needs to be made, being underinsured could make a tough situation even worse, and could make it harder to replace the things you need for your home.
Admiral shared some top tips for calculating the value of contents, for the purpose of putting in place the right amount of contents insurance. They suggested using an online contents calculator to help. You should go from room to room in your home, looking at each item as you go. They also suggested taking a look at the value of things in your garden, shed, garage and loft, which are areas often overlooked when thinking about insurance. According to Admiral, the average garden contains £5,000 worth of contents, with the average theft from a garden stealing £1,593 worth of property. In addition to totting up the total value of your contents, you should note any high value items, worth £1,000 or more, in order to insure these separately on your home contents policy.
Admiral suggest adding any new high value items to your insurance policy when you buy then, rather than waiting until the annual renewal of your policy.
What do you treasure most within your home and what does this say about your attitude towards money; do you favour materialism or sentimentality? What’s important about money to you?