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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Not watching TV isn't worth the savings

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The headline got my interest. "How to Earn $1 Million by Not Watching TV" captured my attention since I could easily forfeit watching television for a while with that kind of payoff. But alas, the article was much less appealing than the headline.

Someone actually took the time to calculate the "savings" from abandoning all television for the rest of your life. The financial reward was based on a 25-

year-old who theoretically abandons television until they are 70 years old.

Here's how they arrived at this financial bonanza. The researchers calculated the cost of the television set, the cabinet, cable, special pay-per-view events, games, electricity costs, etc. They even factored in the amount of money you might spend simply because of a television commercial. They then threw in a mystery "opportunity cost" that includes other activities for financial gain that you might be doing now that you are not watching television.

When all the numbers are crunched, the "experts" say you could save as much as $700 per month by abandoning television. Invest that money at 8 percent over 45 years and you could enjoy a $3.7 million nest-egg at age 70.

I'll admit when I first saw the headline, I was looking for something a bit easier than abandoning the tube for all eternity. And since I'm a tad bit older than the 25-year-old example, my savings would be substantially less.

I am convinced that the vast majority of the time spent in front of the television set is virtually wasted. But still I watch reruns of "Friends" as if the episode would somehow mysteriously end differently. It never does.

Yet despite my general disdain for much of the viewing selection, I can't imagine the events I would have missed without television. And let's face it, you can't put a price tag on these historic moments of television history.

But you know there is one thing I could easily lose and never miss for a moment. It's the commercials. I can start flipping through the channels and well over half of the stations are on a commercial break at any given moment. Some more than others. I know what pays the bills because it applies to the newspaper business as well. But with television, you're a captive audience and you are literally forced to endure the commercials.

The bottom line is that no one is going to abandon television simply because of the cost savings. You might well ignore television because much of the offerings are useless. But I doubt any of us would factor in the "savings" when it comes to our viewing habits.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen