SWORD of Math: Hams vs Housing

In this Very Special edition of HammerSWORD of Math, we examine the ultimate question that has plagued the hobby community for decades. Is Warhammer a better investment than a house?

As we enter these uncertain times one must think towards the future, and making wise financial investments is a key part of establishing a financial bedrock. Hopefully by now we all understand that leaving money under a mattress (or even in a low yield savings account) is a bad investment; relative to the inevitable onslaught of inflation our money will only decrease in value. But how should an enterprising hobbyist allocate their funds? Is it possible that Warhammer is not only a sound investment in fun, but also of finances? Let’s do the math. Before making any investments, it’s important to make sure your own financial circumstances are well in order. Things like taking care of high interest debts and having an emergency fund are good first steps. The Personal Finance subreddit has some good advice if you need a place to start.


Credit: Brandon Fox

Over time the value of money decreases due to a variety of factors that are outside the scope of this article (and this author) to explain. Suffice to say that it happens, there’s nothing we can do about it, and it sucks. Inflation fluctuates but in the United States it’s averaged around 2% per year. Something that cost around $1 in 1994 now costs around $1.75, according to this handy calculator. Inflation is also why it’s a bad idea to horde money outside of what you need for immediate expenses, particularly with savings accounts that barely give any interest; the buying power of a single dollar is 57% of what it was in 1994.

Investment Rating: F– don’t hoard your money like toilet paper.

High Yield Savings and Certificates of Deposit

Space Marine Intercessor
Space Marine Intercessor
Credit: Pendulin

One option to consider to offset the inevitable crush of inflation is a high yield savings account. This is a good place to store an emergency fund for things like a global pandemic causing a worldwide recession and drastically altering life as we know it. The interest rate offered by high yield savings accounts varies over time but at least you’re earning interest and making the bank pay you for your money. If you don’t need the money immediately a certificate of deposit is also an option for a federally insured return after a fixed period of time. Depending on the rate offered these might be at best a way of keeping up with inflation.

Investment Rating: B+ for short term gains or projects you might have in the next few years, D- for long term gains.


Credit: Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

Gold is a valuable metal that people have been using as currency for thousands of years. It doesn’t corrode, is easily formed and melted, is rare enough to maintain value, and so long as people like shiny things that’s unlikely to change. The value of gold tends to fluctuate less than the stock market, making it particularly appealing in times of crisis.

Investment Rating: C+ as a portfolio diversification option.

Real Estate

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

For the vast majority of people reading this article a home will be the biggest investment they make. The fluctuation in home prices will vary greatly depending on the economy, local conditions, schools, access to transportation, whether or not Amazon is building their new headquarters nearby, etc. Overall homes are fairly stable investment, although any homeowner can tell you that maintenance and upkeep will take a considerable toll.

Investment Rating: A+ if you plan on living there.

Stock Market

Credit: TheChirurgeon

Number goes up until it doesn’t. The stock market is the primary means by which people invest, either through individual stocks or funds associated with retirement accounts. Historically it has steadily going up and beat inflation, but that can be a completely different story depending on the time span you’re looking at.

Investment Rating: A- so long as you don’t look at your portfolio anytime soon.


Source: Games Workshop

As one of the oldest and most consistent miniature companies on the planet, Games Workshop has established themselves as a massive behemoth in the games industry. The small, jewel-like objects of magic and wonder we call Citadel Miniatures have a value that exceeds mere currency, but fortunately Games Workshop has been kind enough to also provide us with an opportunity to purchase them. While there is a risk with every investment, particularly in the face of game lines being dropped or miniatures being relegated to Legacy status, overall one should not overlook the financial benefits of purchasing miniatures. A prime example is the Rune Priest in Terminator Armour, which sold for approximately $5 back in 1994 and is now $25, a 500% increase in value!

Investment Rating: S+ Ultra GOLD! A 500% increase in value! Two data points definitely make an actionable linear trend.

Putting it All Together

The chart below shows in the adjustment in value for various investment opportunities relative to the original point of investment (1994) and adjusted for inflation. As you can see Warhammer miniatures are clearly a solid investment, having displayed a consistent increase in value that closely follows the stock market but without the precipitous declines in uncertainty associated with various external factors such as a massive housing bubble or unprecedented global pandemic. Relative to homes and eliminating all other factors (like the basic human need for shelter), Hams are obviously the better choice.

Wrapping Up

Thank you for reading this, and I hope you find the information useful. As a disclaimer, if you decide to use a joke article on a community run miniature site as the sole basis for your investment strategy I reserve the right to laugh at you.