Hey everyone, Mike back again with another Magic Finance article. This week I am going to go over how to stay on top of the market and ensure you buy low as often as you can.
A while ago, I responded to a person asking about the basics of Magic Finance by explaining that my overall goal is to obtain long-term investments for good prices, with the eventual notion that I will sell them off at higher prices in the future. Maybe I will use the money for a new house or to send one of my kids off to college, the point is that the less money I spend now the more “free” money I can get when I finally cash in. The person responded back with a simple question that I suppose I had never thought specifically about, “How do you get things for ‘good’ prices?”
As always, this content does not replace financial guidance by an advisor.
Fear of Missing Out
A general finance concept that is deeply ingrained in Magic Finance culture is the “Fear Of Missing Out”, also referred to as FOMO. In this context, FOMO is essentially a fear of regret that causes someone to behave compulsively due to the concern that they might miss a good investment opportunity.
As consumers of Magic, we are generally not privy to details about print runs and plans to reprint cards. This means that it can be difficult to identify what the ceiling price of a card is. Due to this, you will find that there are people who are willing to pay inflated prices for a particular card or will attempt to buyout a particular card that does not see much play. This is likely due to the speculator’s FOMO.
It is a natural human reaction to behave this way and in recent years has seen more research due to the social implications found related to the use of social media. This method of thinking can have a tendency to present itself in those who perhaps have not had very many successes or generally does not feel like their long-term needs have been met. Many of my early investments while in college were made due to FOMO and none of them panned out.
I published an article a few weeks ago about Speculating on Data vs. Emotions which touched on this a bit. The point here is that as always, one should use objective data to make investment decisions. If you ever find yourself looking to buy something because, “the price could go up much more and if I don’t buy now I’ll regret it,” you should consider taking a step back and re-evaluating the situation. I have not crunched the numbers on it, but I do not think I have ever made a successful investment with this type of thinking.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things I look back on and wish I had bought or held onto, but that feeling is a lot more palatable than looking back and wishing I had not bought or wishing I had sold.
Browsing is a Part-time Job
Although I only make a few purchases a month, and sometimes none at all, I am constantly browsing for new investment options. There are many sources to choose from – various MTG-centric retailers, eBay, Craigslist, Facebook groups, and so on. A serious investor will spend a considerable amount of time combing through various sources to find items they might be interested in.
The type of sources you browse will largely be tailored by what type of investing you are looking to do. As somebody who looks for longer term items to hold, I generally look for higher-end items which tends to drive my focus towards marketplaces with strong buyer protection such as eBay or TCG Player. Those interested in shorter term investments will also use eBay often and can also find quick opportunities in active Facebook buy/sell groups.
Nobody is truly psychic so it is difficult to talk about timing purchases such that you always buy at the bottom and never at the top of an item’s market price trends. Instead, this section will be more about using promotional opportunities to your advantage.
For instance, I made mention that I frequently use eBay for purchases. eBay regularly hosts promotional days with a general coupon code that allows you to get some nominal percent off of most purchases which usually ranges between 10 and 20 percent. What I personally do while browsing on eBay is save certain products that I am interested in and already deem to be a fair price. I then wait for one of these promotions to become active which allows me to get an item at that nominal percent below its already fair, or hopefully even lower, price. Sometimes things are bought before I have the opportunity to do so and certain auctions are too lucrative to pass on for these events. However, not allowing FOMO to influence you into buying items in the moment can save you literally hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run – as it has done for me.
This concept is not exclusive to eBay either. MTG retailers such as Channel Fireball, Star City Games, and TCG Player frequently offer promotions in which singles will be discounted by a certain percentage or offer a certain percentage of credit back to the purchaser. Combining these discounts with a bit of market data can allow an individual to build a stock of staple cards over time at a discount which can then later be sold or traded for higher valued items.
The original question was, “How do you get things for ‘good’ prices,” and the answer can be boiled down to a simple word – patience. As I saw my peers in Intro to Finance class do, many new investors are excited about jumping in and can tend to make hasty decisions on purchasing something without really considering their situation. There are of course situational exceptions, but having a bit of patience will generally save you money upfront while also helping keep you from falling into a poor investment.
Where do you get your great finds? Let me know in the comments. You can also reach out to me on my YouTube channel’s twitter account: @mtg_vc.
Stay up to date on everything MTG Deck Techs:
Twitter – @mtgdecktechs
Facebook – /MTGDeckTechs
YouTube – MTG Deck Techs
Use code TECHS10 at Inked Gaming for 10% off!