By: Todd M. Schoenberger, @TMSchoenberger, @JonesFallsPub
Ah, the holiday season. The time of year for some of you to make your list, while being extra careful who checks it twice.
For those who find that loving feeling with someone other than the spouse, it’s time to pay up. No, I’m not talking about divorce, alimony, child support, etc., etc., etc.; I’m talking about the gift for the mistress.
Oh no. Or is it, oh yes.
Regardless of your morals, religious commitments and yadda, yadda, yadda, the mistress is expecting a present worthy of, you know, epic appreciation. So, if you even have the resources to take on a mistress, well you’d better pony up if you want to keep her smiling.
And, I’m talking diamonds and luxury items—not a new Dyson.
It wasn’t always this way for the secret lover, though. The Great Recession a few years ago meant great disappointment in terms of gift-giving for the lady on the side. Men generally stayed away from having a torrid love affair, and opted to be the wholesome man everyone thinks they are, rather than getting trapped into paying thousands of dollars on gifts from Hermes, Bulgari or Prada.
But times, they are a changing. The GDP report released Thursday morning shows the economy grew at a very healthy 3.5 percent, and the guy who recently won the Presidential Election is likely to bring the roaring 80’s back to the USA. Reagan 2.0 will lead to the ultimate proxy for a healthy economic environment: Spending on a mistress.
Men are going all out this holiday season for their lovers, as many feel more confident in their personal economic situation. Like one Wall Streeter who, obviously, spoke on the condition of anonymity said to me: “My girlfriend isn’t stupid. She watches FOX Business. She knows what the market has done since the Election and is expecting a luxurious gift and a Vespa. Good thing my wife only watches The Today Show.”
Unfortunately for some of you out there, AshleyMadison.com is no more. The company completely rebranded itself from a service promoting infidelity into an innovative, open-minded dating service company, named Ruby Life. Open-minded still seems to be stepping over a line, but that’s a topic to tackle at another time.
Ashley Madison did leave us with some excellent metrics, however, before shuttering. In a 2014 survey, the company was able to obtain some excellent subscriber data on mistress spending during the holidays. And, the numbers are definitely an “eye” opener.
According to the former company, the mistress always receives the “best” gifts. Men generally spend under $100 on wives, but well over $300 on mistresses. And these same men are 47 percent more likely to buy their mistress diamonds and luxury items than their brides.
And what’s worse for the wife is men are 35 percent more likely to buy their spouse items of necessity: tech products, cleaning supplies, an ice scraper for the car; whereas, the top mistress gifts are expensive jewelry, sexy lingerie, fashion accessories (can you say Hermes Crossbody Bag), technology and vacations/getaways.
No wonder AshleyMadison.com would experience a huge spike in new registrations following the holiday season! I suppose the wives wanted to flip the role and receive luxury items next season. Makes you wonder which company will fill the gap and step in to fulfill this much-desired service.
So being a former Wall Streeter (no, that is not my quote above but it wasn’t hard to get a former colleague to spill the beans!), let’s talk about making money. If anybody has the chutzpah, I’d suggest launching a hedge fund investing in “lover stocks.” Here’s a couple to consider.
Hermes International (EPA: RMS) has the hots for profits. The stock has hearts a flutter with a pop of 24 percent in 2016, and the company’s leather-goods and saddlery revenue rose 15 percent over the summer, beating the 12 percent consensus. The company, as most luxury retailers, did experience a slowdown worldwide this year, but this drop presents a perfect opportunity for the future: Rapid growth.
And with the success of the stock in 2016, many investors are looking at Hermes as a long-term play as discretionary incomes rebound, thus enabling purchases of high margins items such as silk scarves and ties.
Next up has to be Tiffany (NYSE: TIF). The stock is up a toe-curling 27 percent in the prior six months and is expected to continue its upward trajectory leading into 2017. Tiffany’s third-quarter earnings release showed sales increased 1 percent, however, on the bottom line, net income rose 4.5 percent to $0.76 a share. Seeing the luxury market growing is another bullish signal for companies like Tiffany.
It should also be noted how 90 percent of sneaky men prefer to pay for their mistresses’ presents in cash to avoid the incriminating paper trail. So, cash is king (and private) for some of these luxury retailers, like Hermes and Tiffany.
There you have a couple of investment ideas to tie you up and consider for your infidelity investment portfolio. Happy holidays and seasons greetings to you, your wife, your mistress, and probably your soon-to-be divorce attorney!
Disclosure: The author does not own the stocks mentioned in the article and has never been a member of AshleyMadison.com.