Shhh…Don’t Tell My Dad!


Ok, I know I shouldn’t, but I’m throwing my dad under the bus here!  I live in Denver, while my parents live in South Florida.  On occasion, I get the call that goes like this:  “Hi, how are you, what else… well, I gotta tell ya, I’m tired of being broke!”  Sound familiar?

As a financial planner by trade, I go into the “I can fix this” mode.  Admittedly, I’ve made plenty of money mistakes in my life, but you live and learn.  What I have learned is that you need to be a consummate shopper!  Shop everything, not just clipping coupons for deals at the grocery store, but examples like where do I fill up my car, should I buy online vs. a local retailer…the list goes on and on.

All of this brings me to my specific example here:  the TV bill.  I mean, wow!  Having perused the recent bill, it looks like my parents spend on average $280 per month.  By comparison, I use another provider, and my average bill is just under $100 per month.  I’m not intending to knock on satellite company #1 or make an endorsement for #2, just an observation on how someone could save a bunch of money without really giving up something of great significance.  Perhaps he watches more pay-per-view movies than I do, but $180 difference per month is significant!

Let’s dig into the math a bit here:  If my dad were to make a change of TV providers, he’s still getting entertainment value, but would have an extra $180 per month to put somewhere, let’s say he invests it.  As he approaches the end of his working career and nears retirement, certainly this savings would be useful?

180 * 12 = $2160 per year.  He just turned 70, so let’s say he realizes these savings over the next ten years.   $2160 * 10 = $21,600.  I did not even factor in interest!  If he were to invest the monthly savings of $180 at a compounded rate of 2% annually, the future sum would approach $24000.

My point here is that we can all be wiser consumers with almost any goods and services we utilize.  When it comes to insurance, the story is the same!  Whether it’s the big companies with wide marketing budgets that have something to do with “farm” or the lizard peddling cheap auto rates, there are savings to be had somewhere.

Do your homework, weigh the advantages of consuming the big name, big ticket product for a lesser known that may be of equal or higher value.

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