I just read an article in the New York Times a couple days ago "Imbibers Add It All Up and Gulp". With a finger pointed directly at me, the article asked ARE YOU DRINKING AWAY YOUR RETIREMENT DOLLARS? (OK, so maybe not those words exactly).
Interesting question though. I decided to do a little digging into our own drinking expenses. The results--shocking! It turns out we spend about $325 per month on wine, $175 per month on alcohol out (dinners, concerts, sporting events), and while I don't know this number exactly, I'll guess $100 per month non-wine alcohol (the hard stuff) at home. That's six hundred bucks! Over $7,000 a year!
I'm sure you are now inclined to recommend Alcoholics Anonymous rather than worry about the state of my finances. So let me re-direct your focus to the issue at hand, retirement. I'm 43 years old right now. $7,200 per year socked away at 6% interest for 20 years is a nearly a quarter of a million dollars. I kid you not. Cutting back on this expense would surely guarantee that at 63 we would not be eating cat food for dinner.
But, alas, the obvious issue arises. That 20 years wouldn't be nearly as much fun dry (not to mention just plain impossible for us to do).
But I do wonder: when I'm not going to work every day, will this expense possibly decrease simply because I won't feel the NEED to drink as much? Right now we have a (not-so) strict "no drinking" policy on week nights with the following exceptions:
- If we go to someone's house for dinner,
- If we go out to dinner at a restaurant, and
- If we have people over for dinner.
(Note: a bad day at work is NOT an exception, but you can also see how easy it is to get around that one--simply go out to dinner. And I must admit that I have recently taken to just skipping that extra step and going straight to the bottle during this time of my growing impatience to reach the finish line at work.)
So, it will be very interesting indeed, to see how this budgetary item is effected by my upcoming retirement.