Cable TV Or Retirement – You Decide.


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Cable TV or retirement – you decide. How much does a lifetime of cable cost? While the cost of monthly cable packages varies significantly, the average is about $80 a month. Multiply that cost by 50 years and it totals a whopping $48,000. If you think that number is alarming, wait until you see the next one.

If you invest that $80 a month in a low cost S&P 500 index fund that returns 8 percent annually, the amount grows to an eye-popping $638,000. That’s a lot of dough to pay for 500 channels of TV most people will never watch. If you can bump up your returns to 9 percent, the number grows to almost $1 million.
Read More: Would You Give Up Cable TV to Retire Early? - On Retirement (

In economics this is called "opportunity cost." When you spend money on one thing, you give up the opportunity to use it for another purpose. So, what is more important to you? Retiring before you're 80, sending your kids to college, or cable TV? Is ESPN and MTV more important to you than the million dollars you may be forfeiting? The same thing applies to cell phone data plans, high speed internet, alcohol consumption, going out to eat instead of fixing dinner at home, and driving a 2014 BMW instead of a 1991 Buick. What is more important to you, and why?


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Good article. I've always weighed the pro's and con's of having satellite service. It's expensive and not a necessary need. I do spend a lot of time consuming DVR'd shows, so right now it is still worth it to me but I do wish I had an extra $1,300 a year in my pocket.
That's a great article...especially after my wife and I spent some time itemizing bills that we were "leaking" $20-30 USD a month on...after spending about a week eliminating waste, we've "found" about $400 a month...and that is with keeping our cable TV, WiFi, and mobile phones turned on.
Now that being said, if you carry insurance on your mobile phone, have you checked the "small print" lately? My wife had a "waterproof" case that was not so waterproof the other month. Turns out, the case manufacturer would not cover the cost of the iPhone 4S that got killed by the failure in the case. So, we went to use our insurance...and the end result was the phone replacement through our insurance with AT&T was $50 USD more expensive than buying a refurbbed phone of the same model at the same AT&T Store! Boom, $30 USD (we have three phones on our plan, one for our oldest) a month saved. The customer service rep could not come up with a business case where the insurance I was paying for would SAVE us money....each carrier/situation is different, so definitely low hanging fruit to check on.

I need to work on the adult beverage consumption, etc. Main challenge when "finding" money like this is actually doing something smart with it though :)
Two things I hate about cable and satellite TV:
1. The 2-year commitment
2. Not being able to order channels a la carte.

1 is easily avoidable if you don't have to have the latest DVR equipment. 2 isn't.


I am in the process of keeping a monthly budget in order to track the bleeding of money. We don't spend wildly but I don't like not knowing where it all goes. I've noticed that I am getting less of everything for more money-nothing new. My salary never goes up now. I get a bonus based on company goals. Since my base remains the same the % bonus is worth less every year. I gotta get a handle on things since a tipping point is close at hand. TV is low on my list of must haves. I find that if I don't have the full TV menus I DO NOT crave them. I get used to NOT even looking at what is on what I don't have. So that is proof that TV is not essential.
Yeah, its more of getting back to our roots I think. What's better at the end of the day, Toddlers and Tiaras, or reading a new book? If you check it out from the library, then even cheaper!!!
Anyway, we're devoting this weekend to selling a number of the books we've collected over the years online. I've not done this online before, but apparently most of the sites pay you the postage in addition to a small amount for your book(s) if they are ones they can resell. Mainly selling books that we won't read again and are taking up storage room in the house! I did find an app to make things easier, Book Scouter, that queries the various sites for free to get the best price for you. I'm sure they likely make a stipend from any sales, but free to me so all good!
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