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Watching TV costs you $1 million+ over a lifetime
Old 07-18-2007, 01:43 AM   #1
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Watching TV costs you $1 million+ over a lifetime

Gee, and we thought posting here instead of watching TV was just for fun... Turns out it could be a key LBYM strategy. The true cost of watching TV:

Yahoo! Personal Finance
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:56 AM   #2
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Interesting. And it is all discretionary spending.

I have seen similar projections using cars. The one that struck me was the example of buy a car every 10 years instead of every 5 and retire 5 years earlier. OR something like that.
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:00 AM   #3
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Eh...very subjective.

TV: Hmmm...$1500 every ten years. Seems like cheap entertainment. Under $10k for my lifetime.
Entertainment cabinet system: $0. My tv's always come with a stand.
Cable: $80/month. About $38k for the rest of my likely lifespan, not including lost opportunity/investment costs.
Pay-per-view: Never watch them. With 225 channels and a tivo, its tough to find the need. $0.
Movies: Never go, hardly ever rent, watch them for 'free' on HBO/Starz. $0.
DVD/DVR:Free from directv. No charge for service under my directv plan. $0
Gaming system: Doesnt actually have anything to do with watching television, but ok...lets say $300 every 5 years...$4-5k over my lifetime, presuming I'm into playing Halo MCXVII in 2035.
Games: I cant think of anyone who buys $100 worth of games per month in perpetuity. People who game that much rent them. But lets go nuts and say you buy 10 games per game platform. $500 every 5 years.
Energy: Going with the $10 month figure...$4800 for my lifetime.
Commercials: I have a tivo, I dont watch commercials. $0.
Opportunity costs: Wow, instead of relaxing and being entertained, I could be working?!? Holy cow...I'm on it. Next i'm going to get rid of that money losing "sleep" thing...

A total of roughly $60k for 40 years of passive entertainment. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Shoot, tivo missed a major marketing opportunity..."Buy a tivo, save $940,000 over your lifetime!!!"
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ESRBob View Post
Gee, and we thought posting here instead of watching TV was just for fun... Turns out it could be a key LBYM strategy. The true cost of watching TV:

Yahoo! Personal Finance
Come on, this is an extreme exaggeration. Not driving a car, maybe. But 1MM for TV watching? Not a chance!
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:11 AM   #5
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What about the cost of going from analog to digital TV in 2009 ?

Seems like a good time to pull the plug.
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:13 AM   #6
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Either $0 if you're using digital cable or satellite, which will downconvert to analog in the box. $50 for a downconverting tuner for people using broadcast tv. The feds are even supposed to subsidize the cost of the tuner for people below a certain wage level.
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:13 AM   #7
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Just imagine how much you could save if you eschewed pointless luxuries like food, clothing and shelter.

I have a television but only get one channel because I am too cheap to pay for cable. Essentially it is just a platform for me to watch DVDs, which come free from the library (I received the player as a gift).
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:17 AM   #8
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Either $0 if you're using digital cable or satellite, which will downconvert to analog in the box. $50 for a downconverting tuner for people using broadcast tv. The feds are even supposed to subsidize the cost of the tuner for people below a certain wage level.

I called my cable company and was told I will have to rent or buy
a converter box... oh, the government is going to pay for it ?

Hold on to your wallets.
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:29 AM   #9
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Ah you have analog cable. The cable companies have been phasing that out anyhow in favor of digital, since that requires a box and if you have a box you might watch a payperview or spontaneously order premium channels. Lots harder to pirate as well.

Yeah, I like the "we're from the government, we're here to help you" bit too. They're going to switch us to digital so they can sell all that freed up bandwidth to the highest bidder, then use our tax dollars to subsidize poor broadcast tv watchers conversion to digital.
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Old 07-18-2007, 12:54 PM   #10
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Either $0 if you're using digital cable or satellite, which will downconvert to analog in the box. $50 for a downconverting tuner for people using broadcast tv. The feds are even supposed to subsidize the cost of the tuner for people below a certain wage level.

I had heard it was for everybody, not just below a certain wage... and... for more than 1 TV per household since most have 2 or 3...


But... I could be wrong...
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:13 PM   #11
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We have only one TV (30 years old) in the house. DW is the person who watches TV on a regular basis. My two kids and I only watch it for an hour per week.
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:30 PM   #12
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But... I could be wrong...

Nope, you're right. Its open to everyone, although there probably wont be enough coupons available for all broadcast tvs.

I know why that was stuck in my head...the majority of broadcast tv users are lower income. Currently 88% of households receive television by cable or satellite...if you believe popular figures foisted by those groups, who probably would like the broadcast tv users to feel uncomfortable sitting in their tiny 12% market segment.
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:31 PM   #13
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My two kids and I only watch it for an hour per week.
So then you're really living it up with your extra...$839,000?
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:37 PM   #14
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Will my old black and white TV that I bought in 1978 still work?

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Old 07-18-2007, 02:54 PM   #15
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According to the article:

Quote:
The commercials are there to get you to buy products -- and they are effective. Economist Juliet Schor estimated that for every hour of TV a person watches each week, he or she will increase his or her annual spending by about $200...
So if the average person watches 31.5 hours/week, that means $6,300 of additional annual spending. i.e. the person would have put an additional $6,300 into retirement savings if he/she didn't watch any TV.

Now the median annual wage is around $40,000, so this means that average people spend about 16% of their before tax income on things that they wouldn't buy without TV ads.

I find this intriguing. I've wondered if the continuous stream of advertising isn't a reason for modern Americans' low savings rate (and high number of hours worked).

But, 16% of before tax income sounds way too high. I would believe 2-3%.

Any thoughts?
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Old 07-18-2007, 03:30 PM   #16
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According to the article:
Any thoughts?
Yes; as Sam already said, this is a silly, hyperbolic article, and, for me, reinforces the fact that there are far, far too many personal finance writers with far, far too little to write about...

Wait a second. You mean, if I save money now, it compounds throughout the years to generate
even more money!? Super!! So glad I tune in every week for this earth-shattering insight!!!

If TV costs a million, then I am sure I could sit down and, in short order, freelance an article attempting to patronize you into believing that, without your car, you'd be worth ~$17,264,198 more than you currently are.
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:07 PM   #17
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Frank gently teases me sometimes because I always mute commercials. I don't want to be influenced by them and I find most of them to be offensive. When he says, "You know the commercial for xyz...?" I just look blank because I really don't.

Most of the items on the list just don't cost me anything. Entertainment center? I'm 59 years old and I have never had an entertainment center. If I ever decide to get one, it will be a furniture purchase, for the cabinets and shelving, and won't have much to do with watching or not watching TV.

They forgot to add in the cost of microwave popcorn for Saturday night TV watching. DCA that amount into a good mutual fund, and in 50 years you'll have almost $2000. Goodie goodie gumdrops.
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:56 PM   #18
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Interesting article, thanks Bob!!

IMHO, If you replace just 1 hour a day of mindlessly watching television with reading for one hour per day about your chosen profession, you'd make far more than 1 million dollars. You'd become an expert in your field and at least triple your income in a short period of time.
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Its correlated with metro areas
Old 07-18-2007, 07:50 PM   #19
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Its correlated with metro areas

With 48 channels here, the need for cable is weak. Many are foreign language, but few watch more than a select few channels.
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:23 PM   #20
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Interesting article, thanks Bob!!

IMHO, If you replace just 1 hour a day of mindlessly watching television with reading for one hour per day about your chosen profession, you'd make far more than 1 million dollars. You'd become an expert in your field and at least triple your income in a short period of time.
Spending an hour on learning more about investing is probably more rewarding than reading about your profession.
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