Million Dollar Habits

Michelle Singletary (from the Washingon Post) has some very wise advice having to do with the the true cost of smoking. She looks at the habit from a couple of different perspectives:

  • The potential cost of getting sick.
  • The daily or weekly cost of tobacco.
  • The cost of spending a few dollars a week instead of saving for retirement.

Michelle is counselling Carl, a 38 year old man with a $100/month habit. She figures (with conservative estimates) that channeling this money into a 401K would translate to $100,000 at age 65. When confronted with the numbers, her client has decided to quit smoking and instead focus on saving for his families future. Good for him! I am sure that armed with knowledge and willpower he can improve his life.

Million Dollar Habits

Carl isn’t really different from the rest of us, we all have our million dollar habits. It could be Starbucks, McDonalds, Marlboros, or even iTunes, but a few dollars spent here and there can be the difference between steak and Alpo at retirement.

Michelle gives us a great example of the power of compound interest, and how spending with a purpose can change our lives. Remember, if someone saves $100/month between ages 25 and 65 it will be worth $1,000,000. That is $3/day!

Now, can you change your life like Carl?


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