No. 277

Someone once said that a lit cigarette is a “fire at one end, a fool at the other, and a bit of tobacco in between.” Before you get the wrong impression, here in the beginning I want you to know that I am not going to attack people who smoke. Quite to the contrary is true. I am going to offer hope and encouragement to smokers and a practical reason to not only quit smoking but to become a millionaire at the same time. This is especially true for a young person who smokes and is willing to take what they spend on cigarettes each month and invest that same amount of money in the stock market or a mutual fund.
With these thoughts in mind here is what I want to ask you to consider. In the larger context of things, you may know that the income gap is widening between the rich and the poor. To state it very clearly, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. As a result of this, many elderly people who are living below the poverty line are having to continue to work beyond retirement age because they must have additional income to survive. It’s one thing to continue to work because a person wants to, but it’s something else to have to continue to work just to meet his or her basic needs.
What brought these thoughts to mind is a sad situation that I have been seeing several times a week for the past two or three years. On my way to a printer I use here in our community I pass a couple of temporary employment agencies. Invariably, as I drive by there are from 10 to 20 young people standing outside the building smoking. My heart goes out to these young people who day by day are becoming addicted to a drug that will cause some of them a painful premature death but also keep the vast majority from financial success in the important years ahead.
To me, this makes no sense at all. A young person looking for or working on a temporary job, spending a good portion of his or her income on cigarettes and running the risk of getting lung cancer. Now before you over react, I know this is a free country and a person of legal age can spend their money where they choose, and I accept that but it does not stop me from caring, apart from the larger health related issues in society, .
Keep in mind that what I’m talking about here is not a moral issue but rather one of logic and common sense. All that I’m suggesting is that “smokers” think about the practical aspects of quitting smoking, having a healthier life and more money to spend on other things. If a person who smokes, regardless of their age, will add up everything they spend for cigarettes and other vices and if it comes to $150 a month or more, here is what could be earned in the future. The stock market has averaged around 15% return on investment since it began but let’s use 10% to be on the conservative side and see what $150 per month reinvested earns over a period of years. After five years the amount is $11,615.56, 10 years $30,726.74, 15 years $62,170.55, 20 years $113,905.32, 25 years $199,025.01, 30 years 339,072.19, 35 years $569, 495.71 and 40 years $948, 611.94. Please let me call your attention to the difference in earnings in the first 5 years and the last 5 years. It goes from $11,615.56 to $379,116.23...the difference between $569,495.71 and $948,611.94.
This is the miracle of compound interest and the way most people become millionaires. What I’ve been talking about is an issue that confronts all of society. If you are not a smoker, why not clip this out and give it someone who is. Some level headed young person may just be wise enough to use these suggestions to kick the habit and even become a millionaire. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)