Wow, we had a pretty crazy day. There was a fire in our building this morning (Wednesday). Luckily, we live near a fire station and the fire trucks got here very quickly. Since this was a high rise, they pulled out all stops and sent 16 fire engines and trucks over. The firefighters quickly put the fire out, but the whole area was blocked for hours. From the pictures at Oregonian Live, the fire looked like a raging inferno. Our building is made of concrete and the fire is supposed to be contained in a unit when there is a fire. I think it worked out this time because the fire fighters put out the fire so quickly. The windows on the units above were melted and it looks like the curtains could catch fire that way. Thanks goodness for the fire fighters. Also, many units below got soaked and infused with smoke. Quite a few residents will have to find somewhere else to live until their units are fixed. Portland Fire & Rescue said the cause of the fire was smoker’s carelessness. Smoking is a terrible habit and it will ruin your retirement in many different ways.
Cigarettes are expensive
A pack of cigarette costs about $7 in Portland. If you smoke a pack per day, you would spend about $50 per week or $2,600 per year. That’s a lot of money. This habit costs more per month than the sum of our electric bill, life insurance, gym membership, and gasoline. Smokers will think, I can afford $50 per week! However, investing instead of buying cigarettes can pay off big over the long haul.
If you invest $50 per week for 60 years, you’d have over 2 million dollars*. A pack a day sounds a lot more expensive if we put it this way, right? The average near-retirement household has less than $15,000 in their retirement accounts. We are having a retirement saving crisis because people don’t know how to budget and invest.
*I used a conservative 7% ROI in the compound interest calculator.
Personally, I’d rather have 2 million dollars than the pleasure of smoking. Fortunately, I never started smoking so I never had to buy any cigarettes.
Cigarettes will ruin your health
Money is important, but health is even more so. The life expectancy of smokers is at least 10 years shorter than nonsmokers. Every year, more than 480,000 people in the US die from illnesses related to tobacco use. That’s 1 out of 5 deaths in the US. Smoking can cause a ton of health issues and it is not a pleasant way to go.
According to the CDC, smoking can cause cancer and damage nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, hearth, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones. Yikes! A few years ago, one of my friends from Intel got cancer and passed away pretty quickly after the diagnosis. He wasn’t even 60, so he wasn’t that old. Everyone knows smoking cigarette will ruin your health. So why do 45 million plus Americans still smoke cigarettes? It doesn’t make any sense to me. You don’t want to spend your retirement dealing with health problems, right?
Cigarettes will cost society
Cigarette butts are the #1 cause of fire and fire deaths in Portland. The smoker was sent to the hospital due to smoke inhalation, but he will be fine. Luckily, we didn’t have any fatality this time. However, a bunch of people in our building have to find a new place to live for a few weeks or months. The flooring, walls, furniture, computers, clothes, and other personal items will have to be replaced. That’s a huge job. We aren’t affected, but I feel really sorry for my neighbors who are dealing with this. Hopefully, they all have good insurance because each unit will have to pay for their own repairs.
This is a direct effect, but we all are paying for the burden of death, diseases, and disability of smokers. Cigarette smoking generates around $170 billion in annual health care spending in the US. We are all paying into the health insurance and government health programs that are paying for smokers’ treatments. Premature death and disability also cause loss of productivity. My friend could have worked for many more years, but instead, he’s gone.
Secondhand smoking also sucks. There are a lot of smokers in Portland and I don’t want to get sick inhaling their secondhand cigarette smoke. I guess I shouldn’t worry too much because we don’t smoke. We only get secondhand cigarette when we’re walking around. It’s probably okay because we’re outside. It still stinks, though.
Say no to cigarettes
We are teaching our kid to hate smoking and I hope it sticks. I was planning to write a post about inflation this morning, but we got kicked out of our building due to the fire and couldn’t get back for a while. The fire trucks were blocking the garage so I couldn’t bring RB40Jr to his summer day camp. Instead, we spent the day listening to free concerts around town, tried a new food cart, and went to the library. It was a fun day, but I didn’t get anything done. Hence, we have a rant about cigarettes… We’ll get back on track next week.
What do you think about cigarettes? I think it is a terrible habit and it will definitely ruin your retirement. Now I feel a bit guilty about investing in Altria and Philip Morris in our dividend portfolio.
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