A good point made in I Will Teach You To Be Richis that we each have to decide what we really want to spend our money on. Everyone is different. You may prefer to eat Kraft Dinner every night for a year so that you can take a trip to Hawaii once a decade. That’s fine so long as it’s a choice you’re making and not just “life happening to you” because you never thought about what you feel it’s worth spending money on and what it’s not. I, for one, do not think it’s worth spending money to replace my laminate with a granite countertop.
I will admit that the decision for me wasn’t even based on money. Granite requires more
work than laminate. For me, that was enough to stick with laminate.
However, today, just for fun, I decided to do some very simple math to see what the financial impact of that choice was.
Replacing my laminate with granite would cost about $3600.
Buying a Granite Countertop versus Education Savings
If I took the $3600 and put it in the RESP for our children, it would immediately earn 20% in matching government grants. That means I’d have $4320 to invest. If I put it in something conservative earning 3.5% after inflation (think Bell, BMO stock) and left it for 10 years, it would be worth about $6090 when needed for post-secondary education. That will pay one year’s off campus rent, based on what a niece is paying now, inflated by 2% a year for the same 10 years.
Buying a Granite Countertop versus Retirement Savings
If I took the $3600 and put it in my RRSP, it would immediately earn me 46% in a tax refund which I could also put in the RRSP, making it $5256 in pre-tax dollars to invest. If I made the same 3.5% after inflation, and left it in for 22 years, it would be worth about $8850 when I drew it out again at a 21% income tax level. That’s more than my CPP will likely be for a year.
Buying a Granite Countertop versus Cash Savings
Since there’s no tax or grant incentive to saving my money in a cash portfolio, the value won’t change that much over the years. But if I took the $3600 and invested it at the same 3.5% after inflation and left it for 22 years, it would be worth about $7670. Which is probably what it would cost to get a granite countertop then. But I still wouldn’t, so I guess I’d be able to buy something to eat off my laminate countertop in retirement.
Choose Your Life, Don’t Be a Victim of It
Do you make conscious choices about what your spending gets you versus what you will not get if you spend that money? If you do, you’ll probably enjoy your life. But if you spend first without thinking about how that choice eliminates another possibility then you may always feel like a victim of your own life.
What was one of the best spending choices you made? Please share your experience with a comment.