Are your bad habits costing you a financial future?
Addicted to caffeine? Cigarettes? Have trouble walking away from the bad-food buffet? Can't stop playing the lottery? You may be gambling with your financial future.
Costs over lifetime: $258,000
America isn't healthy: A whopping 2/3 of Americans are either overweight or obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. And while these statistics haven't convinced too many people to eat less, exercise more or just add more fruits and vegetables to their diets (In fact, 3 out of 4 Americans will be overweight or obese by 2020), maybe these statistics, which show how significantly POORER you will be, will inspire you: Over a lifetime, obesity costs $4,879 and $2,646 a year for women and men, respectively. Tack on the value of lost life (8-10 years) and it's even more dramatic : $8,365 and $6,518. Plus, you're up against weight discrimination at the office -- this is most prevalent among women. In fact, when white females gain 64 pounds, their wages drop 9%, according to a study by Cornell University.
Playing the lottery
Costs over lifetime: $31,750
Studies show that the heaviest lottery players -- the 20% who contribute 82% of lottery revenue -- disproportionately are low-income, minority men who have less than a college education. A recent study published in the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty found that those earning an annual $13,000 or less spend a whopping 9% (about $1,100) of their income on the lottery tickets. Why? Because poor people see playing the lottery as their "best chance" for improving their financial situation, according to a recent Carnegie Mellon study. Truth is, your chances of striking it big are a slim one in 195 million! To calculate your odds, click here.
Costs over lifetime: $113,000
While up to 80% of us use caffeine in one form or another, more often than not, it comes from coffee (More than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year, making it the world's most popular beverage), and sodas (one out of every four things we drink is, in fact, a soda). Harmful health effects aside, this addiction wreaks havoc on the wallet. Consider this: if you buy a cup of coffee every day at $1.75 a cup, you're spending more than $600 a year to fuel your habit; make your coffee at home for just .55 and you'll save more than $400.
Costs over lifetime: $86,000 (for a 24-year old woman over a lifetime); $183,000 (for a 24-year old man over a lifetime)
Let's break this down further: if you have a pack-a-day habit, you're blowing more than $4,000 a year (New Yorkers pay $11 or more for a pack of cigarettes). Smoking not only takes 8-10 years off your life, but it also significantly increases your insurance costs -- from your life insurance (expect to pay about three times as much as a non-smoker) to your homeowners (non-smokers typically get a 10% discount on their premiums), auto insurance (non smokers generally get a 5% discount), to your health insurance. Run the numbers on ehealthinsurance.com and you'll see: smokers pay several hundred dollars more per year than non-smokers.