Ask Brad – What an RIA Can Learn from Buying a Clothes Dryer

brad walesThis is the latest installment of a regular column to answer questions from advisors who are considering transitioning to an RIA model. To see Brad’s previous articles, click here. To submit your question, please email Brad here.

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A year ago, my dryer stopped drying clothes. Considering that is the reason a dryer exists, this was not welcomed.

Being many years old, I decided replacing it with a new unit was more cost-effective than trying to fix it.

After some research, I bought a unit costing roughly $2,000.

This dryer does it all. It connects to my WIFI, has a fancy steam dry setting involving running a water line to the unit, can communicate with the adjacent washer, and has a half dozen heat levels. You name it, it does it!

A short time after it was delivered, I was sharing the news of my proud acquisition with a friend. His reaction? “You’re an idiot!”

Wait, what?!

With a more eloquent tone than his initial feedback, he explained I would never use 80% of those fancy features. A dryer was for drying clothes, he explained. In almost every instance, you take your clothes out of the washer, throw them in the dryer, and press start for the normal dryer setting.

He noted I could have spent half the price and been just as satisfied with what I got out of the dryer.

Sure enough, a year later, I’ve never bothered figuring out the WIFI (or why that’s even needed). I’ve never hooked up the steam line. And except for occasionally turning the dial to “tumble dry low,” I never used any setting beyond “normal.”

I overpaid for features I was never going to use.