College Tuition up in Smoke

The other morning I was standing in front of my office window pouring a cup of coffee when I saw two brand-new Moms pushing baby strollers. As they paused to cross Calvert Street, I couldn’t help but notice one Mom had a cigarette in her left hand. It brought to mind a gas-station advertisement promoting a pack of cigarettes for only $6.73.

I’m an ex-smoker and basically smoked a pack a day from age 16 till 32. Since the day I quit I’ve become that ex-smoker-jerk that current smokers love to hate. I’ll ask them if they’ve read the side of the pack; you know, about smoking causing death and such? These days I hate-hate-hate even the smell of cigarettes and I’m embarrassed that I was once addicted.

Anyway, the young mother is probably consuming about a pack a day since she can’t even take her little baby out for a morning stroll without lighting up. I started thinking about the $6.73 per pack advertisement and after a back-of-the-envelope calculation; I figured she will send up in smoke about $204 per month, or $2,448 per year. In the next 18 years, or about when her baby reaches college-age, she will have, just in cigarettes alone, with no future price increases, burnt up about $44,064 in after-tax cash.

If the new Mom would sock away $200 per-month in an investment that could earn something in the neighborhood of 7.72% she would have a nice little account for her then college-bound student of about $83,800. And this doesn’t count a most certain health dividend for her or her child.
Bottom-line, if you know someone trying to quit this nasty and expensive habit join me in being that pain-in-their-neck-smart-aleck and give them a little more ammunition in their quest to quit. Tell them they’re blowing their college fund!

Marty Knight, MBA, CFP® is currently a Financial Advisor with Chesapeake Investment Advisors Inc. Securities and Advisory services are offered through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 800-994-0221 or emailed at