Buyer's remorse: Apple products or stock?

Faith Merino · March 11, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1809

Chart shows how much you'd have if you'd purchased Apple stock instead of Apple products

I loves me some good buyer's remorse. I'm the queen of buying something, strolling out of the store, and then turning around before I even reach the parking lot to go return the item because I convince myself that I need the money more. What I love even more is pushing my own fiscal neuroses onto other people. Buy a new gadget--a smartphone, a gaming console, whatever--I'll list off all of the more practical things you could've bought instead (i.e. "You know, for the price you paid for that iPad, you could've bought 125 boxes of Cheerios").

Now Kyle Conroy, a computer science student at UC Berkeley, has made the ultimate buyer's remorse chart. Conroy shows exactly how much money you would have today if you had purchased Apple stock instead of Apple products. It's painful. 

For example, in 1997, Apple released the PowerBook G3 250, a top-of-the-line laptop that was the first to use the PowerPC G3 series of microprocessors. In November 1997, the original PowerBook cost a tidy $5,700 (also in 1997, Hanson and the Spice Girls ruled the airwaves, Austin Powers and Scream 2 dominated box office charts, and Larry King was on wife number 7). But if you had used that $5,700 to puchase Apple stock instead, today you would have a cool $330,563.

Ouch.

Let's use a more recent example. If, in 2001, instead of buying the original Apple iPod for $399, you had purchased Apple stock, today you would have $11,914. Or if 2001 is still too far back (I was still in the process of dropping out of high school in 2001), let's look at the iPhone. If you had opted not to pick up the brand spankin' new iPhone in January 2007 and put that $499 toward Apple stock, today you would have $1,460. 

At nearly $350 per share, Apple stock has reached an all-time high and has a market cap of $319 billion. By comparison, in mid-1997, Apple stock had hit a low of just under $3.50 per share. Conroy's figures are based on the "adjusted close" price, which accounts for Apple's stock splits.

The New York Times first reported on this on March 10.

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