Can you imagine actually holding a million dollars?

Imagine if – right now – in your hands or on your lap was a duffle bag filled with a million bucks. There would be 50,000 twenty dollar bills, and it would weigh over 110lb. Imagine owning your very own mansion on a private island and flying in on a helicopter you painted neon green just because you could.

Today we’re going to talk about millions of dollars, private islands, yachts, and generally living in the lap of luxury.

Cigarettes & Cash

We’re also going to take a look at cigarettes. Not what it means for your health (that’s already on the warning label) but what it means for your $bling$. It starts with a hypothetical situation. Can you tell the difference between the two guys below?

Yes, it’s subtle and incredibly hard to spot. One of these guys is wearing normal clothes, and the other is wearing a tuxedo made out of money. Take a look again, zoom in if you have to. NOW do you see it?

These are two versions of the same guy. They’re both 23 year olds from Kentucky, they both work the same job at the same place. They both rent the same apartment and pay for all the exact same expenses. They’re two versions of the same guy from parallel dimensions who make all the same decisions except for one: The guy in street clothes made the decision to start smoking when he was 18 – as soon as it was legal. The guy walking around in money pants doesn’t smoke, but he can now afford to buy what he calls The Party House.

You might be thinking to yourself “Cigarettes in Kentucky are only around $5.60. Not exactly enough to become Mr. Monopoly.” True, but you’re forgetting about something every shark on Shark Tank preaches – opportunity cost.

Opportunity Cost

Every dollar spent on cigarettes is a dollar NOT spent on something else.

In this case Mr. Moneypants took the exact same “cigarette money” and instead of spending it on tobacco he downloaded an investment app and threw it into some stocks.

So from the age of 18 to 23, these guys live their lives making the exact same decisions along the way. Mr. Smokeypants doesn’t have a bad life. He’s happy, dating a wonderful girl and totally making it work. However Mr. Moneypants is in the exact same position except he is putting that $5.60 a day somewhere it will grow and grow.

At the brittle old age of 23 he could cash out an extra $15,770.71. According to Zillow, that’s enough for a down payment on a 3 bedroom Kentucky home. It’s enough cash to make a (very uncomfortable) suit out of 100s.

Now of course – at this point their paths would split. Moneypants could start renting out the house. He could flip it, buy a few more, and become Kentucky’s youngest real-estate mogul. He can go on to make YouTube videos where he drives Ferraris and wears Balenciagas.

For the sake of argument – Let’s say that he decides not to diverge from this path. How far can he take it without investing anything other than “cigarette money?”

Flash forward four years. Mr. Moneypants’ “cigarette fund” has grown. He now has $32,576.10. If he cashes out it would present a difficult choice –  should he buy TWO houses OR become a sponsor on a top 40 Nascar racer?

In another six years they’re both 33 and these guys are thinking about settling down. Where better to do that than on a PRIVATE ISLAND? Mr. Moneypants has an extra $73,481.25. That’s enough to buy Gillis Island – in Canada. Remember – this isn’t from hoarding cash or going crazy about savings. This is mostly from interest collected on $5.60 a day.

Fast forward and Mr. Moneypants makes his first million at the age of 59. At 75 he’s got 5 million. When he hits 131 he has over a billion. On his 203rd birthday he’s the first human worth a trillion dollars. And he did it with what would have otherwise been cigarette money.

Yes, we know we pushed it a little far at the end, but we hope you still get the point. Smoking cigarettes isn’t just an expensive habit and it’s not JUST about the money you spend on them.

It’s also about all the other things that money could have been going towards. Perhaps it’s a savings account, but it doesn’t have to be. A car, house, a new phone, a room full of games, a college degree, or whatever else your heart desires.

We at FEND don’t believe in telling you what to do. You’re smart enough to make your own decisions. All we can do is give you the information you need to get where you’re going, and we hope you learned something new.