I used to throw my money away at boats...
If I had discovered the hobby of firearms and long-range shooting back then, I'd have a collection of ranging from an M82A1 to an AIAW and everything in between, and still be ahead of the $$ game
But seems to me, that current shortages aside (and this too, will pass) there has never been a better time for firearms enthusiasts.
Precision CNC machining has brought prices down- and reliability and quality up- to levels that have never been seen in the past.
IMO, the "good old days", are now (or rather, when I can buy reloading supplies again!).