When pearls have to pay for house tax
DEAR VEXED: Dear Vexed, I’m moving house but we’re a little short of money. Should I pawn my jewels to pay for stamp duty? Millie, 31, banker
OH dear, things have come to a sad pass, haven’t they? I’m not talking about the fact that money is so scarce you can’t just pay for stamp duty in cash from your handbag anymore. No, I’m far more concerned about what’s happened to your values. You’ve lost sight of the fact that your jewels are important and why.
What this question says to me is that you are comparing apples and oranges. Stamp duty falls into the “boring but necessary” category, and it’s certainly mundane. I’m not saying it isn’t a big deal: it is a costly fact of buying a house. But your jewels are not just money. They’re about your self-image, and they’re symbolic of your status as a well-bred, worldly woman with a past and a future. They’re sentimental. They mean something – money (in and of itself) doesn’t. Don’t fall into the same trap as the customers of those horrible companies that are encouraging you to ship off your granny’s necklaces in exchange for cold hard cash. Think of your soul.
See, once you start allowing the dull, mundane spheres of your life to impact on the sparkly, personal sphere, you’re heading down a slippery path. Trading jewels for stamp duty cash is the first thing. Next time what will it be – your kitchen knives for council tax?
The fact that you’ve come to this should tell you something: now is not the time to be buying a new house. Stay where you are until you can afford to move without pawning the contents of your dressing table.
However, if you’ve got to move – perhaps there are kiddies on the way – you might as well do it properly. If you stretch, you can get a bargain of the type that will be impossible in a few years. But my dear, stretching is going to require more than the odd jewel. It’s going to take your whole treasure chest to make selling any of it worthwhile. Still, once you’re bereft of diamonds and pearls, at least you’ll have a garden for Millie Junior to run about in. She’ll be happy for it, at least. She just won’t have much jewellery to inherit. email@example.com