News & Info
2019 “Cost of Loving Index” Shows Price Stability for Expressions of Love
Houstonians expressing their love this Valentine’s Day can expect to spend about the same on popular gifts of affection, except for delivery of a dozen heart-warming long-stemmed red roses that will cost 7.5 percent more this year. Ah, the price of love.
The annual “Cost of Loving Index,” compiled by Houston-based investment advisory firm Houston Asset Management, has been tracking the cost of the same nine popular gift items every year since 1990, when rose delivery cost $65 compared to $151.55 this year.
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans are expected to spend a record $161.96 for Valentine’s Day, up 13 percent from last year. In Houston, they can anticipate stable pricing with the “Cost of Loving Index” up a meager half percent this year.
Bob Frater, CFP®, CEO of Houston Asset Management, said the index is an entertaining and informative way to illustrate the impact of inflation and the need to save for discretionary spending.
“When we started the index in 1990, inflation was six percent and today it is only 2.4 percent,” said Frater. “But the purpose of our play on the Cost of Living Index is informative on spending habits, and not scientific. This year, seven gifts on the list stayed the same price or have a very little price increase. Gift-givers don’t have to worry about increasing their budgets to spoil loved ones.”
The stable price trend includes uncorking a bottle of Simi chardonnay for $30, the same price listed since 2017. That highly desired heart-shaped box of Godiva chocolates has been priced at $100 since 2013. A one-ounce bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume is the same as last year at $340, and two tickets to a first-run movie for two remain priced at $25.86.
Also priced the same as last year on the Cost of Loving Index are a designer silk tie ($175) and a Valentine greeting card ($6.25). However, a four-course romantic dinner for two at a high-end restaurant is up in price about two percent at $346.
The one item that dropped in price significantly – 12.5 percent – is a silk nightie from Victoria’s Secret.
The NRF reports Valentine spending is expected to total $20.7 billion this year, representing an increase of six percent over last year’s $19.6 billion.
|Simi Chardonnay - Russian River Valley||$26||$30||$30||0%||0.49%|
|Dozen Long-Stemmed Roses Delivered||$65||$140.73||$151.55||7.69%||2.96%|
|Godiva Chocolates in Heart-Shaped Box||$70||$100||$99.95||-0.05%||1.24%|
|First Run Movie for Two||$12||$25.86||$25.86||0%||2.68%|
|Chanel No. 5 Perfume - 1 oz.||$195||$340||$340||0%||1.94%|
|Valentine Greeting Card||$1.75||$6.25||$6.25||0%||4.49%|
|Designer Silk Tie||$60||$175||$175||0%||3.76%|
*Annualized Inception percent change since 1990.
Houston Asset Management Awards Two Scholarhips to Local High School Students
Houston Asset Management has awarded two $10,000 scholarships to local high school students graduating this year who are pursuing business degrees in finance.
Andrew Nolan, graduating from Westfield High School of Spring Independent School District, and Yasin Ahmed, graduating from West Brook High School in Beaumont, have been awarded individual four-year scholarships made possible through donations by the firm and its clients to the Houston Asset Management Charitable Foundation. The foundation has awarded more than $118,000 in scholarships to deserving students in the greater Houston area since 2009. Students are selected based on their academic achievement, a written essay and a group interview with members of the firm and its clients.
“These two young men are extremely motivated, hard working and have had numerous achievements in their academic and personal lives,” said Bob Frater, CFP®, CEO of Houston Asset Management. “Our scholarship committee has no doubts that they will continue to apply themselves to reach their future goals. It was rewarding for us to witness such maturity and professional goal-setting in these two students.”
Andrew Nolan will be attending Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. In his scholarship entry, Nolan stated that “strength of character and belief in one’s own abilities” are required to be successful. He has taken advanced math and finance classes and plans to pursue a career as a chief financial officer of a Fortune 500 company.
Yasin Ahmed has been admitted to the Business Honors Program at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business. His goal is to join an asset management firm as a financial analyst and then pursue an MBA and start his own firm to counsel families on ways to avoid debt and save for the future. He believes there are five qualities needed to achieve financial success: communication skills, continued learning, leadership ability, teamwork and integrity.
Nolan and Ahmed were selected for the scholarship awards after an interview process and upon review of an extended essay on their future professional goals and the qualities needed for success. In additional to the scholarship, they are granted the opportunity for paid summer internships at the firm between their junior and senior college years to gain hands-on business experience.
(L-R) Rich Welsh, Richard Hollis, Andrew Nolan, Chris Brown, Bob Frater and Bob Hampton
(L-R) Rich Welsh, Richard Hollis, Yasin Ahmed, Chris Brown, Bob Frater and Bob Hampton