I recently made a promise to myself; I will only smoke when I drink. Now, I've been smoking with increasing frequency for the past 3 years, and I have to say, I love my cigarettes. I'm not seeing too much of a dip in lung capacity, I haven't developed a fist-sized tumor somewhere near my larynx, and in college, it's a lot easier to get away with it in a social setting. Then why, you probably aren't asking, would I decide to “quit”? The answer, my friends, is monetary.
Let me put it this way.
At my current rate of tobacco inhalation, I'm breezing through about a pack every two days. Sure, that's not as much as your uncle who's been sucking down 3 packs a day since the war, but it's still a pretty constant rate of smoke. Now, on to the next paragraph.
One pack every two days adds up to, predictably, 182.5 packs per year. At $3.75 a pack, which is conservative seeing as though I don't buy cartons and I smoke the good stuff, Kamel Reds, every chance I get, 182.5 packs per year adds up to $684.38 Now, that's a substantial sum of scratch.
From 1970 to 2006 the average compounded rate of return of the Standard & Poor's 500, the most representative index of the American market, was 11.5 percent. If, for 35 years, I did not smoke and instead set aside that $684.38 every single year, I would have invested $23,953.30. If I just set aside the money I would have spent on cigarettes, I could buy a new car. I could go all-out on 24 or so really nice hookers. I could buy a year's worth of bourbon.
However, if I invested this $684.38 every year, at a 10 percent return rate (1.5 percent lower than the S&P 500), compounded continuously, it would net me $185,483.68.
So really, quitting smoking all together (which I don't plan to do any time soon) would not only probably prolong my life, but make the extra years I get after retirement a bit more cozy.
So, only smoking when I'm drinking. This undoubtedly will cause my drinking quota to reach alarmingly(er) high levels, but can tell you right now that I will never, ever write a post addressing the benefits, be they health or social or monetary, of teetotaler-tarianism. And yes, I just made that word up. Tell your friends.
So ends this edition of Financial Flim-Flam with Tyler Haggard.