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How to Instantly Add 8.2 Years and $133,369 to Your Life

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Welcome MSN, Bankrate, and Seattle Times readers! There are a whole lot of new riskologists around today. I’m so happy to have you in the club.

It’s pretty amazing how much difference one little change can make in your life when you commit and stick to it. Just like tucking a little money away each month when you’re young can leave you with a small fortune at retirement that you hardly had to work for, the compound interest from other little life changes can reap similar benefits.

This is something I learned from JD Roth, who I consider a personal finance hero, when he pointed out in his book that “the small things matter, too.”

Of course, this philosophy comes with it’s share of naysayers, often smart folks themselves. Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich is practically famous for telling people to quit worrying about saving on the small stuff and focus on the big things that matter.

I can respect that, but have you ever heard the story about American Airlines saving $40,000 a year just by putting one less olive on their first class salads? And that was back in 1987.

That’s a huge difference for what amounts to a very small change. Those are the kinds of changes that really excite me.

That’s the kind of little thing I’m going to tell you about right now.

It’s not the easiest change you’ll ever make, in fact, for some people it’s as hard as quitting smoking, drinking, or even heroin, but nonetheless, it’s a decision that takes literally seconds to make and can add 8 active years to your life and over $130,000 to your bank account.

No joke. That’s something I’m willing to take a risk on. Are you ready to hear what it is?

Cancel your cable and kill your TV.

Yep. That’s all there is to it. No complicated 12 step plan or other mess. Just give your TV to Goodwill (or better yet, smash it to bits), then call your cable company and say you’re done with their extortion. You should actually use that phrasing, but make sure you clarify that you want to cancel your service because the operator is probably too brainwashed to know what you mean.

At this point, you’re probably pretty skeptical about that claim I just made. I admit, it sounds pretty outrageous and I was skeptical too when I first started working out the numbers. But it’s actually true.

In fact, I hate outlandish claims so much that I was ultraconservative when I did my calculations. I’ll quickly explain them right now, so if you’re not a numbers person, just skip down to the next section where I explain why you should cancel your cable even though your initial reaction is probably, “Yeah, no thanks.”

Still with me?

Okay, here’s my super conservative breakdown of how I got to 8.2 years and $133,369:

The average American watches 5 hours of TV every day. I’ve assumed 4 because Riskology.co readers are too busy kicking ass to watch 5 hours a day. That works out to 28 hours a week, 120 hours a month, and 1,460 hours every  year. That’s over 60 days – 2 months – of your life, every year, watching a box of colored light.

Ok, got that? Let’s move on.

The average American lives to be 78 years old. I’ve assumed a conservative 75 just in case a few of us step on a land mine, fall off a cliff, or eat too many Happy Meals. If you’re 25 like me (and like most readers here), then that gives you 50 years without TV if you turn it off today.

At 60 days a year, that’s more than 8 years of your life that you can spend doing something more productive than watching sit coms. You can add 8 active years to your life just by making one tiny decision today.

I think it’s worth it just for that, but lets move on to the money:

The average monthly cable bill in the U.S. is $75. I’ve assumed $70 because, well, $75 just seems too expensive. If you’re 25 and cancel your cable today, that’s $42,000 over your life for 2 minutes of your time.

Now, take that $70/month and put it in an investment account that averages 7% each year in interest (reasonable estimation), subtract 3% for pesky inflation for a real return of 4%, and that’s $133,369 fifty years later. Amazing, huh?

But I like TV! <–Math haters start reading again here–>

Of course you like TV. I like it, too. It’s a distraction that creates a fantasy world you can live in, even if for just a little bit. It takes you to a place where dreams can seem real and all our problems go away.

Unfortunately, though, just like cigarettes and heroin – things I’m sure I’d enjoy if I used them – the escape they provide is temporary and when you’re finally forced to turn off the TV, real life is right there waiting to confront you again.

It’s not that TV isn’t fun, it’s that life itself can be a lot more fun. I don’t mean to sound like one of those new age hippies that’s all “high on life” or some BS, but it’s true.

Life can be so much more enjoyable when you kill your TV. I’ve been without one for almost a year and can say it’s made a huge difference in my life. I’ve quit my old career and started a popular new website. I’ve turned my health around and gotten back in great shape. I’ve even gotten out of the house and met all kinds of new, amazing people that I’d have never met otherwise.

Let’s cut to the chase, though. TV is fun because it lets us imagine what the perfect life could be like, but you can’t actually achieve that life as long as you’re watching it.

Just think of the things you could accomplish in your life if you had 8 extra years and $42,000 or even $133,000 or more to make it happen. You could:

  • Start and even self fund the next Google or Netflix. How many chances could you give yourself to succeed if you knew you had time and money on your side?
  • Climb Mt. Everest. Very few people will ever stand, quite literally, on the top of the world because that’s about how much time and money it takes to do it these days. If you gave up TV, you could be one of the few.
  • See more than half of the world. My friend, Chris Guillebeau, did the math and realized if he gave up the idea of a $30,000 SUV, he could afford to visit 65 countries. Then he decided to visit every one in the world. He’s given himself 5 years to do it. You’ve got 8.
  • Give an entire village clean drinking water. Charity: Water drills wells in Africa & beyond to provide the impoverished with clean water that fuels better health, longer life, and even helps build healthy economies. Kill your TV and you could donate enough to provide 1,400 people with clean water for their entire lives.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, too. Here’s a list of things I’m working on.

So here’s what I want you to do:

First, I want you to call your cable company right now, cancel your account, and tell me in the comments what you could do with an extra 8 years and $133,000 tacked onto your life.

Then, if you enjoyed reading this, share it on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else you might hang out.

Finally, if you want more info like this, go sign up to get free updates and my 5 Risks That Made History email series.


Bonus Lesson: This is a persuasive article. If you read it, you probably got the feeling that I really wanted you to take action by killing your TV and doing something more productive. There are a lot of ways I could go about this, but I used two tactics that make this piece more compelling:

1) I used a positive argument instead of a negative one by telling you what you could gain from giving up TV instead of what you’re already losing. When you want someone to listen to you and change the way they act, you’ll be far more effective by appealing to hope than fear. Empowerment beats guilt every single time.

2) I used specific figures and showed proof. I showed you the exact math I used to build my argument and explained how I went about it. It would have been easier to just say, “You can add 8 years and $100,000 to your life. Just trust me.” but that wouldn’t have been very believable. Also, I gave the people who did want to just believe me a way to skip over the details.

3) I made a strong call to action. Once I was done explaining my point, I said, “Okay, here’s what I want you to do now.” It might seem obvious to you what you want them to do, but when you end an argument by actually asking for a specific action, you’re far more likely to get it.

Image by: hellabella

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What smart people are saying about this...

  1. runbei says:

    I’m 68, owned a TV perhaps 5 years, haven’t watched broadcast or cable in years and don’t miss it. Nobody believes it when I tell them my age – because I run hard (and rest a lot), lift heavy for strength, eat well and deliciously, meditate three times every day, and write a fun article every 7-10 days. None of it happened quickly; it was a gradual evolution toward greater joy. TV has been shown to stimulate the posterior, reptilian portions of the brain, and shunt energy away from the prefrontal cortex, the locus of everything that’s fun and creative and purposeful in life. That’s why we become zombies in front of the tube. Some life! The underlying principle is that expansion of awareness equals joy, and contraction makes us unhappy. (I’ve stolen this principle from J. Donald Walters’s marvelous book, Out of the Labyrinth: For Those Who Want to Believe, But Can’t.) Do I sound smugly self-satisfied? Life supplies abundant challenges – expansion is a battle. My latest battle for expansiveness and joy – giving up useless reading, and using the time to learn to sing better, and to write more…

  2. Thanks for the input Runbei. It’s nice to have the perspective of someone who’s “been there, done that.”

  3. Jesse says:

    I like the idea of killing the TV/Cable

    but you know what likey will happen poeple will increase the time they spend on the NET dramatically.

    Basically you are taking away one addiction and replacing it with another.

    Lets face it with the amount of commecials and ads the Internet is the new TV.

    I dont see any of you smartguys saying to destroy the Internet do I??????

    Maybe just maybe you don’t say that becuase that affects your wallet.

  4. That’s a possibility, Jesse, but the point of this article is to point out that getting rid of TV (or any other addiction) can open up so many other opportunities.

    I don’t advocate destroying the internet because I think it’s a much more useful tool for creation and freedom than television ever was or could be. But that’s just my personal bias. Obviously you need to monitor your time consuming information online in order to create things.

    As for affecting my wallet? Do you see any advertisements here? Riskology.co is completely ad free.

    • Jesse says:

      Apologies didnt mean to come off as snide. You do make some good points about monitoring your consumption of such things that is key.

      Keep up the good work!

      One suggestion though. The wood background makes it really hard to see the txt on the Left margin. Anyway to move it over some?

      • zippy says:

        You’re reading it thru your phone, right? I hv the sidekick and I know what you mean. I can’t read the text on the sides due to the dark wood but when I actually go online the text is fine.

  5. Logan says:

    Hey there,

    Great post! The other bonus of not having a TV is that you free up the design of the room it was once in. For us the TV was like the center of a solar system that the furniture had to orbit around so that everything was facing the TV. It would be awkward when folks came over because the furniture was not oriented to facilitate conversation only TV watching. ;)

  6. Toni says:

    I’d totally be ok with no TV, minus the fact that prior to having my big epiphany on my life and future, I spent almost $2,000 on a new lcd 46 inch Samsung. I’m sure in a couple years, or maybe even a year, it will be a lot easier for me to give that up because by then, my TV will be considered old school.

    I think the idea of giving up cable/TV is to go out and actually be productive with your life, not find another form of entertainment that you can waste your time on in the confined space of your house. Although the internet can be very useful to a lot of people, it shouldn’t be something you spend hours and hours on. I am not one to watch TV online like a lot of my friends do; I just can’t get into it. I guess I am more of a movie person.

    All in all, seeing the amount of money you can save just by cancelling your cable/TV service might even motivate others to cancel their internet service as well. Who knows….

  7. Erica says:

    I gave up TV over a year ago. I’ve since gotten rid of my only television and am very happy without it. The few shows I keep up with post them online, and I have a Netflix account that allows streaming to my PC. The only thing I lose out on is the ability to keep up in conversations about the latest American Idol, but that’s not really a loss, is it?

    With my spare time, I’ve started freelancing, taking classes at my local college to update my IT skills, and I have time to take more dance classes to prepare for my teaching certification.

    • That’s awesome, Erica. I also use Hulu and Netflix on a very limited basis and it suits all of my needs. I’ve also found that I don’t need to keep up with current events anymore because all I have to do is ask someone what’s going on and I can get all the opinions I need. :)

    • Daisy says:

      Boy, I am all over the map on the TV thing — I’ve decided that if I am very careful about what I choose to watch and why, then it’s a net-add to my life. (I take your point that between Hulu and Netflix you’re pretty covered these days). A much worse time-suck for me that I finally cold-turkey’d was online gaming. I told myself it was better than TV because of the “social” aspect of gaming, but truly it was a mindnumbing waste. I want to speak directly to your point on American Idol. I actually do watch AI once they’ve winnowed it down to the top 10 or so, though I do it on Tivo and might speed through half the performances. Why? Because being able to keep up in conversations about the latest AI is actually important to me. It’s part of what keeps us feeling like a joined community (for better or worse) and like the weather it’s something that can help you connect with strangers on your daily commute, etc. And, when I was horrified that Adam Lambert lost to that other kid? It was a good reminder that the world is made up of tons of people who are very much not me — different tastes, etc.

  8. I’m TV free too. It’s only been about a month but I can’t imagine going back. Thanks for pointing out what a huge financial impact this decision makes!

  9. Nicole says:

    This is so true! I’ve been without cable for 3 years and I’m happier for it -granted I’m broke, and the money that would have been for cable just goes into another bill so I can’t really save it, but the time thing is so true! I think how I used to waste hours watching TV, now I find better things to do with my time. And even if you think you’ll miss it, you won’t. It just seems that way, but once you nix the cable, you don’t miss it at all! I say do it, and if you can save that money and put it away, that’s awesome too. Another good one Tyler! :)

  10. Rainie says:

    I truly enjoy your articles. Keep up the good work. I’m 61 years old, and out of necessity,
    downgraded my cable tv subscription to Basic for $18.95 a month. I’m still able to keep up with world events and save the extra dollars. It might be a good stepping stone for those who don’t want to go cold turkey.

  11. Jaime says:

    I disagree. We bought a tv for $1,000, flat screen at WalMart, and watch movies on it, we don’t have cable. My bf bought it with his own money, not credit. We watch whatever we want to watch and you know what we don’t feel guilty for it, we have a balanced life and like having a tv. We use hulu, itunes,netflix,network websites, etc. Its awesome. We feel like we’re running our own network. haha.

  12. Davina says:

    Good article.

    I’ve never been much of a TV watcher, but the last time I had one, gradually got so that that was all I did, even watching rodeos. I gave the TV to someone at work and would not have another. (I also never liked the way they dominate a room, or come between people in social situations.)

    I now spend too much time on the internet, though much of that is reading and French language study. I do watch Letterman and also Hoarders, but both can be found free.

    I’m cutting back on internet time in order to exercise more and focus on setting up a new business.

  13. Kevin M says:

    My family did this earlier in the year and erased our $75/month satellite TV bill. So far we’ve just banked the extra cash in our savings account, we haven’t really earmarked it for anything specific.

    Cutting spending on stuff like this (what a lot of people think of as a need) is what has allowed my wife to be able to stay home with our 2 kids. So the small sacrifice is well worth it to us. We can always dial up Hulu.com or iTunes if we HAVE to watch something not on regular TV. But it’s also nice to just listen to music or read at night too.

    • That’s a good point, Kevin. You have to actually save and earmark that money for something or it’s easy to just dump it into something else pointless. Luckily, since you don’t have a TV, there are fewer ads to tell you what pointless things to dump it into. :)

  14. Krista says:

    Great article. I currently split the cost of cable with my two roommates, so the cost is more reasonable for us, but if I were to move out on my own, chances are I wouldn’t pursue getting cable. I lived on my own for several years in my early 20s (I’m in my late 20s now), and I couldn’t afford tv or the internet. While I can’t fathom giving up the internet now, I can easily deal with not having cable. If there is something I truly want to watch, I’ve got free things like Hulu to use, or I can rent DVDs for super cheap through netflix. What I found when I didn’t have cable is that I was wasting a LOT of time on mindless shows like Cupcake Wars (although that wasn’t a show back then) and mindless reality tv that was supposed to be just background noise, but I actually ended up watching it.

  15. PDX Gal says:

    Uhm, how about saving years of wasted time and money by cancelling one’s ISP account and cell phone data service? I’ve never had cable TV, and never will. We do keep a TV because there’s some decent stuff on OPB (for free!). We watch 1 hr/week, max. Years ago when the Internet first became readily accessible, I found myself wondering what had happened to all the free time I used to have for sewing, cooking, reading. I realized I was spending a lot of time online. Call me a luddite, but much of the time people spend online now is the 21st century equivalent of TV watching. OK, maybe not quite so bad because it can be more interactive (I’m posting this message, for example). But to paraphrase Betty White, all this twittering and blogging and Facebooking seems like a big waste of time for many folks. And one’s ISP bill is equivalent to the cable TV bill of yore. Not to mention the data service fee for most cell phone plans (either explicit, or bundled). DH has an iPhone, and yeah, it’s cool, but is it really worth $30/mo for the data service it requires? Just food for thought.

  16. Joel says:

    Never watch TV anymore. I have maybe 2 shows I watch occasionally, but only on Hulu and it’s so sporadic it’s ridiculous.

    Loved this article though. It’s amazing how much time we can spend doing nothing and still think we “never have enough time” to do the things we want.

  17. Trever Clark says:

    We haven’t had cable in about 2 years. We do have a fairly large flat-screen TV still (a 32 inch), but we use it to watch TV online. I’ll admit that I still spend more time online than I would like to, but I feel like it’s not quite as mindless as watching the tube. And when we are watching movies and TV shows online, it’s less a matter of just “channel-surfing” and more because there is something specific that we actually want to see.
    I think that you have to be just as careful with internet usage as with TV. Granted, I as I said before, it’s not as passive as TV watching. But it can still be used pretty mindlessly, and become your default mode i.e. that which you do when you don’t know what else to do. I try to carefully monitor myself, and force myself to read hardcopy books and get outside on a regular basis.

  18. Rick Strecker says:

    I have been TV free for about 1 year and I totally agree that the cable companies really put the hammer to you when it comes to their rates. Thanks for the input and the numbers to back it up!

  19. Sarah says:

    I loved this article. You know, I get sucked into TV so easily, but I don’t actually find it portrays a perfect life. In fact, some shows, like Gossip Girl and various reality shows are SO ridiculous, they stress me out. Seriously, why would I want to watch a show so full of drama, fights, fake relationships, and backstabbing that it makes me uncomfortable, though it has no bearing whatsoever on my actual life? Yet it seems like people enjoy watching that stuff even more than the shows that portray a “perfect life.”
    My brother had me “store” his TV when he went off to military training, and everyday I sit there and watch some useless show. He comes back this week, and I’m in such a big hurry to get that TV back to him. Not to mention, even when the TV is off, its mere presence seems like an energy sucking black hole sitting in my room. It needs to go!

    • Izzen says:

      On your comment about the TV being like a black hole; it’s actually been recommended by yogis and feng shui masters to at least cover up a TV that isn’t being used, as it gives off “bad energetic chi” or some sort of weird energy/frequency, even when turned off. Not sure if you’re into that, but I thought it was interesting…

      No cable out of financial necessity, for me. I usually get bored, distracted or fall asleep when I try to watch anything besides my own movies, anyway!

  20. Mike says:

    I’ve been TV-free for the last six years and I absolutely love life without TV. Most of the people I work with think I’m strange since I don’t follow who got voted off the island or the latest new series. If it’s good enough it’ll come out on DVD and I can catch it when someone else has a copy. Worst case is that someone will fill me in on stuff I need to know.

    I can’t say much about recovering the TV money as it’s disappeared elsewhere – alcohol, rock climbing, tea, and yoga for starters – and admittedly I spend more time on the Internet than I really should. Instead I see disposing of TV as an investment in yourself in other ways, and you can’t really put a price on that.

    The next thing to go is the cell phone. Most of my data plan goes to Twitter and checking e-mail, and I think I don’t need to be that connected all of the time. I’m going to go prepaid once my contract ends so I can see if there’s a significant change.

  21. Jaime says:

    hi its me, I’m sorry for sounding snarky on my last comment. I apologize.

  22. visnja says:

    i’ve been truly tv free for a year and a half. to me, watching tv meant adapting my life schedule to a box, and allowing myself to be poisoned with world news that added nothing valuable to my life. with no tv, i dedicated my time to learning, self improvement, business development, reading and having fun.

    one more thing, tyler, on the topic of appealing to hope rather than fear: that particular strategy may work for you and it’s a fine place to be. but don’t dismiss the power of fear. i’m in sales, and fear is a powerful motivator for more people than you and i would like. i can see that persuasion is important to you, and i think there’s nothing wrong to persuade people to action using their fear, as long as you believe 100% that they will be better off after acting the way you want them to act.

  23. Wanderlust54 says:

    This is one of the best articles Ive read lately.
    I live on a boat and spend $250.00 a month to live. That includes boat slip, elec,water, and internet. I live 2 blocks away from work and ride my bike everywhere.
    There was a time when I lived on land that I too watched tv as part of my normal routine. I could never go back to that life style again. Ive had too much fun since those days!!

    • Craig Kanter says:

      Thats pretty cool. I’ve entertained the idea of living on a boat for years. It just seems that it would be very expensive. If you care to share I’d love to learn more about your lifestyle. You pay only $250 a month? That is amazing. Hope to hear back from you.

      • Wanderlust says:

        Craig its really easy to live on a boat. I lived in the Upper Fla Keys for 7 years on a boat and it cost me 460 dollars a month and that was all the elec. I could use, water, internet, and cable TV. It was a beautiful marina with a Tiki at the end of the dock where we all hung out everyday and had many parties. You could live on the hook (at anchor) out in the harbor where I was for 75.00 a month and have use of the dinghy dock, a place to park your car and use of the bath house and laundry. You can also live for free anywhere outside of the park if you have somewhere to park your car or bike and a place to leave your dinghy. Im living on the North Shore of New Orleans right now and its 258 a month and Im very comfortable. Heres a website that will help you learn more. http://livingaboard.com/ Join the forum and read what people are saying and asking. It is easier to live in south fla or the bahamas or further south because you dont have to worry about the winter. I have marine AC and Heat on the boat Im on now. My boat in the keys just had windown ac and I didnt hardly ever need heat. Let me know if you have anymore questions.
        Wanderlust ~~ _/) ~~

  24. Lana says:

    Hi all. Interesting thoughts and conversations I found here. I’m 45, Russian from Siberia, a world traveler, lived long term in 5 different countries and visited more than 30 (just stopped counting ;)). I have a TV but don’t’ have a cable service. I like watching nice movies or educational documentaries once in a while, and I believe that a well done movie is a respectable form of art which provides relaxation time along with visual and mental stimulation, and is a cheap entertainment. We have copies of favorite movies my family and friends watch once in a while again and again. I pay 10$ on Netflix every month and totally like the cervices. I buy a cheap copies of favorite DVDs once in rare while in second hand stores. Owning TV does not impact my life in any negative way and doesn’t prevent me from following my dreams. The key here is balance ;).

  25. Wanderlust54 says:

    Nicely put Lana!

  26. Craig Kanter says:

    I thought this was a great article. I’ve never been a huge TV watcher anyways. I’m to hyper to sit still that long usually. lol I do occasionally enjoy watching movies on the DVD player. I pay 65 dollars a month for my cable service. I found that was the cheapest way to get my internet service and really the only reason I do have cable. I really wouldn’t miss not having television to watch. Anyone have ideas on less expensive internet connection that is fast. (No dial up). Thanks and great article!

  27. Therese says:

    Once upon a time I rarely watched TV. I only had cable for a short time because it came with my living space. I now miss the days without the TV. I was way more productive and social.

    You miss one major piece of savings – electricity. So easier on your wallet AND on your planet. You have reinspired me to take a look at my TV consumption once again and get off my Butt and DO something. Thanks!!!

  28. mimbresgirl says:

    I actually had only 5 watchable basic T.V channels for a year and a half, which I hardly watched at all. About a year ago the whole area was offered 300 channels for free. What a drain on my intelligence. Even if you cancel T.V. it is difficult to escape from.

  29. dj says:

    I agree with this entry on principle. Great reasons not to have cable are: digital is free over the air (don’t waste your money), and cable contains too much junk that you have to take because it’s bundled (don’t waste your time). You had me until you said, put the money into an acct that averages 7% each year in interest. Source? Um, that seems really high, unless you’re taking a lot of risk. Certainly not going to get that with a money market, CD, or treasury, so stocks. But then there are those inconvenient principles again, deregulation, and the corruption on WS (s&l, ltcm, tech, housing, enron, housing…). You can buy stocks: individual, index, mutual fund. That’s not free; You are spending time and money doing that. This raises a whole bunch of issues if one actually cares about those inconvenient principles and socially responsible investing, accountability, and Democracy.

    On another note, I don’t understand how people can pay so much on telephony/cellphones and usage. Icks!

    • PDX Gal says:


      Good point! Given current market conditions, financial words of wisdom from years back need to be revisited. As an example, in 1984 Marc Eisonson published “The Banker’s Secret” about paying extra principal on one’s mortgage to save $$$ over time. That’s when mortgage rates were around 10-12% or more, so paying off such debt provided much higher returns than putting one’s money elsewhere. Recently, with mortgages now around 5%, Mr. Eisonson himself has said this strategy may not make sense for folks anymore, if they can get higher returns from bonds or other relatively low-risk investments. Even the “Your Money or Your Life” folks have also updated their suggested strategies first written in the 80′s (?), since in recent years bonds haven’t yielded the same returns as when the book first came out. I think they still advocate bonds, but not as the slam-dunk investment they once represented.

  30. [...] How to Instantly Add 8.2 Years and $133,369 to Your Life03 August 2010 – ut med teven! [...]

  31. Kate says:

    I completely agree! I and my 4yr old son have gone TV-free since April of this year and have yet to miss it. Yay for NO tv!!!!

  32. [...] not convinced that ditching the TV is a good idea? Check out this article and find out how your TV can shorten your life by 8 years and costs you [...]

  33. Wow! I never watch TV. Never. Literally. I sometimes think I’m crazy ( a lot of people probably think that since I don’t watch TV lol). Thanks for this Tyler.

  34. Foy says:

    I’d never owned a tv until we came back from Peace Corps and my husbands grandma gave us her old tv. It sat in the bed room for months and we never even plugged it in. So we got rid of it. We do us the laptop to watch hulu and dvds and spend a lot of time on the internet.

    I’m thinking it might be good to do computer free sabatical weekends.

    Of course we didn’t have electricity let alone internet in Peace Corps and most of my time computer time switched over to reading time. I read at least two books a week. Is that any better than internet or tv?

  35. Karissa says:

    Good day, I just wandered over here from Rowdy Kittens. Liked this post!

    I have not paid for cable TV ever in my adult life, but I have lived in a few places where it was included. When it’s around, I watch, and when it’s not, I don’t.

    My son and I moved into an apartment last winter that came with cable. While I was thrilled to have the internet again I realized with dismay how easy it was to turn on the TV for hours at a time. We watch Treehouse every. single. day.

    When my son is at his dad’s the TV doesn’t even come on, as I prefer to watch movies on my computer.

    I agree with some of the people above who say that TV just gets replaced by the internet, which is totally true in my case. However I get to be smug about having NO IDEA what people are talking about when they post about the TV show of the month.

  36. Tony says:

    Whatever happened to rabbit ears?
    I actually bought them from a $1 store and attached them to the digital box with the $40 rebate. I love the ghost-free images on my 14″ old cathode TV. If one has self-control a little TV like wine isn’t bad at all.

    Who really needs cable?

  37. Ch says:

    It turns out the price for basic cable and wireless internet in my area is cheaper than just wireless internet. I kept basic cable. I’m not giving up the internet.

  38. Sam says:

    My wife and I have a small family and we got rid of the TV and cable and it was the best thing we ever did in our life. Really there is no benefit in it, in fact (especially in relation to kids) it is downright harmful. After getting rid of it, our kids (6 and 8 at the time) spent more time reading, painting, playing in the yard, and doing other productive and creative things. We thought they would be bored all the time, but it just didn’t happen, they found other ways to keep themselves occupied. In fact, TV was making them bored. Furthermore, their concentration span increased considerably – in the TV days, you’d be hard pressed to get them to sit for two minutes to read a book, but within a few months they went to reading multiple chapters, and then on to whole books. Their teacher at school also commented on their improved performance, yet when I told her the reason she was horrified! She couldn’t imaging us removing such an “outlet” for the kids from our home, yet she herself attested to their improvement. Five years on, and we have downsized many aspects of our lives, and are happier and healthier for it. For those that are sceptical, especially if you have young kids, try it out for a month or two and you’ll be won over. At first it’s a bit weird, not having the “sound” in the house, but you soon get over it.

  39. Stanley Lee says:

    Not sure if you really got featured on MSN, Bankrate, and Seattle Times, or was it meant as a joke. Your argument about individually insignificant/unnoticeable decisions potentially yielding mass amount of savings requires two revisions. (1) For your AA decision of removing an olive on their first class salads, sure they saved $40k a year in 1987. However, they also considered that doing so would not be noticed by their customers for the most part, hence they can still maintain similar customer satisfaction levels. They would be screwed if the customers were pissed about that move. Similarly, linking to Ramit Sethi’s example about focusing on the big wins rather than stressing the hair out on the small savings, he’s referring to conscious spending. For example, with lattes, according to a study completed during the economic crisis (http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/105997/How-to-Save-Thousands-Per-Year), the average savings for Starbucks trips are $2,425/year. It’s considerable, but not as big as you think if you ruthlessly cut out expenses in other areas in order to satisfy your love for lattes.

    I like the central theme of your article about throwing TV away and recouping your time and money. It just doesn’t eat those away; it eats away concentration, attention, and consciousness. Couch potatoes are brainwashed into being manipulated to do anything the greedy corporations want. These companies only give a shit about satisfying their own agendas, self-interests, and greed.

  40. [...] first caught my attention when Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens retweeted his article about instantly adding 8.2 years and $133k to your life by throwing away your TV set! Upon his release of a “controversal” e-book Take This Job and Shove it, I became very [...]

  41. Randie says:

    Where have you found a good investment account that returns 7% interest consistantly? Otherwise, I really like the TV elimination savings plan.

  42. Jordan says:

    My father would agree with a lot of things you post. He’s the one who started me a Roth IRA last year… I was 17! And he fully supports the two years I’ve been TV free myself!

  43. GG says:

    Although I do have a TV somewhere, I haven’t watched it for… fifteen years? More?

    Had plenty of office and social conversations die after they try starting with “Hey, did you catch X the other night?”, though. Heh.

  44. [...]  Riskology.co – How to add 8 years and $133,369 to your life [...]

  45. [...] Pick out your 5 closest friends that say they care about personal finance and ask them how many hours they spent last week optimizing their budget or their 401k allocation. Then ask how many hours they spent watching TV. [...]

  46. Uriah says:

    I went for YEARS without watching tv. Basically, from the age of 19 to the age of 27 I watched ~20 hours of tv. I’ve gone without a computer/internet for years at a time, as well. But I must say, either my spending habits don’t help my saving habits, or I’m missing the mark somewhere else as I haven’t noticed a big change in either my finances or my time.

  47. [...] Still not convinced? Read about some more benefits to going tv-free such as more crafting and making in your everyday life not to mention gaining 8 years and $133,000. [...]

  48. [...] Pick out your 5 closest friends that say they care about personal finance and ask them how many hours they spent last week optimizing their budget or their 401k allocation. Then ask how many hours they spent watching TV. [...]

  49. ros says:

    Already quit my TV some time ago, when one night I noticed I just passed the last 3 hours staring at a shiny square. Still, I noticed then I don’t know what to do with my time. Weird, isn’t it?

  50. Miguel Gomez says:

    Me and my wife have been without TV for eight months. I’ve made time to read 10 books so far and my she’s been working on her art. It’s been fabulous, we have much better communication, stress levels are down since we don’t watch the news.
    The sense of liberation is great. After having a blackberry addiction, I also stopped using a cellphone 4 months ago and replaced it with google voice. Feels great.

  51. Well i couldn’t agree with you more. I made a decision 2 years ago to stop watching TV. without a doubt it has been one of the best decisions i have ever made in my life. i decided to sell my plasma about 6 months later. I also gave up buying newspapers and listening to the radio. i made a full commitment to monitor what information i was being subjected to and the results have been amazing. In those 2 years i have read 150/200 books, amassed a hell of a lot of positive material, i meditate every single day, i mentally as well as physically workout, go for long walks etc. It is amazing how much of a positive change you can make to your life just by cutting out the unnecessary noise box.

  52. [...] painted it to be, because many professions aren’t even close to what TV portrays (more reasons to destroy your television). Here are the key take-aways from the [...]

  53. Eunice says:

    For the last few weeks, I’ve been complaining that there’s nothing to watch on TV. And yet, I still sit there, night after night, pushing the button on the remote control looking for something to watch. When I do have it on, it’s mostly for back ground noise. So why do I still pay that stupid cable bill? Your article has finally convinced me. I would add so much time to my life to get things done that really matter and I will save money. Thanks for opening my eyes.

  54. [...] I went digging around for all the latest statistics on TV use in America and when I started running the numbers, I was flabbergasted. I knew it was going to be impressive, but I didn’t realize just how big [...]

  55. I haven’t owned a tv since I left my parents home so this this won’t help me much, but I wold love to read a few more.

  56. [...] Cancel cable.  For that matter, get rid of your TV entirely (and save 8 years and$133,369). [...]

  57. David says:

    Very good article. I lived with my girlfriend from december 2000 to october 2010. We took cable from summer 2004 until the end of our relationship.

    I am now moving out and will get to my new place jan 1st 2011… and I will not subscribe to cable. I’m cutting off but I won’t have to call the cable company.

    I also won’t have a land line for phone and will go to a smaller internet provider that will give me the service for 25$ a month. Cell phone is given by work and evenings and weekends (when I don’t work) is free.

    My ex multi-services monthly bill (she now has HD-TV, phone and internet from the same provider) is now 125$. Add a 30$ cell phone bill and she now pays roughly 1880$ per year… easily 2000+ when you factor in taxes.

    That pays: 1- my moving + all the new furniture I need
    2- a 3 week vacation in europe
    3- my gym fees for the year + my bus pass for the year
    4- 3 months of rent
    5- her package is more expensive that all my utilities bill COMBINED

    this is not a rant about her, as her service package is pretty common where I live… just a cost/opportunity easy comparison from a place I am now leaving.

  58. [...] Television Tower Tree (Pic Source) Anti-television gift from Tyler Tervooren Post: How to instantly add 8.2 years and $ 133.369 to your life Quote: “It’s not that TV isn’t fun, it’s that life itself can be a lot more fun. I [...]

  59. I have actually not watched TV for most of my adult life. I love real life, and am able to do so many things I never would have done if I had wasted time sitting in front of a box. I own a business, am a songwriter… Your dreams come true because you spend time on things that really matter. I highly recommend it. :)

  60. BR says:

    You just made me delete hundreds of gigabytes of anime. Thanks loads.


  61. [...] only comes for the people who start doing things differently! These might be very small changes, but they can have huge impact on your life. It can also be a big change. It doesn’t matter. The important thing to realise [...]

  62. [...] So then you go through your day, and you get home, and everything is done, ready for bed, kitchen is closed (my mom always said that), now what do you do?   Probably what most Americans, or most people for that matter do, and that is spend some time in front of the tube.   Like a drone, before you fall asleep, just staring at that bright box. (Also see: “How to Instantly Add 8.2 Years and $133,369 to Your Life“) [...]

  63. Armando says:

    Well I don’t know how to do this even though its spelled out! I have a projector for a TV a 57 inch in the bedroom a 37 inch in my kids room. I’m adicted to tv!!! the bill is sick its $165 a month!!! I know what’s right and I still can’t do the right thing. I spend a lot of time thinking why i’m not motivated to paint anymore…. Reading articles like this will hopefully steer my in the right direction. I want to quit my job and open my own art gallery but I’m afraid of just staying home and watching TV all day……

  64. Joe says:

    I haven’t had cable for about 6 years now, and don’t miss it one bit.

  65. [...] that you can add 8 active years to your life and save about £90k literally by taking the step of killing your TV Answer me this; how many hours of TV do you watch per day? three? four? five or more? On top of [...]

  66. [...] How to Instantly Add 8.2 Years and $133,369 To Your Life Hint: stop watching television. This article is golden. [...]

  67. [...] How to Instantly Add 8.2 Years and $133,369 to Your Life – Unfortunately, though, just like cigarettes and heroin – things I’m sure I’d enjoy if I used them – the escape they provide is temporary and when you’re finally forced to turn off the TV, real life is right there waiting to confront you again. [...]

  68. Humza Javed says:

    I love this article! When i got married 5 yrs ago, we decided to not get a TV for a list of reasons you mention in this article. Yea, i missed Animal Planet, and the travel channel.. but I must say I have been able to pick up new interests and do a lot more with my time. Every single second you sit in front of a TV watching useless info or even sports, is a precious second gone never to return. Go out and play! Life is too beautiful!

  69. Profidia says:

    I ditch my tube 2 years ago and don’t miss it bit. Anything worth while is free on the Net or f2f from a real person.

    Just think of all of the commercials I have missed :-) Political ads :-D Fear mongering news :->

    TV is unreal, LIFE is fun!

  70. Matt says:

    I gave up my TV watching years ago. I watch five shows throughout the year online for free. With one of them canceled, that’s even more free time next year. Once I figure out what I want to do with my life, I’ll figure out what to do with the money.

  71. [...] It’s better than watching TV. [...]

  72. [...] my intake of stuff. Tyler Tervooren over at Riskology.co estimates that you’ll add 8.2 years and 133, 369.00 to your life by cutting the cable and killing your [...]

  73. [...] Freeing myself from the grips of the idiot box was something I had wanted to do for years.  People I respect had convinced me that cancelling my cable could change my life, even add 8.2 years to it and save me $133,369. [...]

  74. TV has never been a huge part of my life but I gave it a total miss a few years back after i realized the addiction might take hold and I was getting sucked in to mindless news that was manipulated anyway. Takes away our own free thinking and will.
    Haven’t missed it a bit. Would rather read, write or learn something.

  75. Steven Carpenter says:

    Wow. Great article. Being in college and now at an internship i lack financial support for a tv and cable for the past five years. But, it is important to understand a new-coming alternative to TV is the internet/computer. I surely spend a ton of time surfing the internet. Not as much as I would with TV but if someone is break one habit they best be sure not to fall into another unhealthy habit.

  76. RNR says:

    Haha! Great post..I think i am going to give up on my TV and see what’s gong to happen. Yes, Single tasking is indeed the best way to manage time efficiently.

  77. Sammy says:

    Damn, nice way to put it all in perspective. Thankfully I rarely if ever watch any TV. The computer screen is what I tend to fixate my time on.

  78. I haven’t owned or watched a television since 1973. Well, a few football games at my mother-in-law’s home. Not many; she doesn’t like me or football or where I went to college.

    But, I do internet all the time. How can I stop paying Comcast and still have high-speed internet? DSL is just as expensive and never worked well for me.

    I’d certainly like to cut the umbilical cord to this part of the MIC, but tell me how to do it.

  79. Sara says:

    I went to basic cable years and years ago and recently gave up all cable. Life really is so much nicer. Funny to hear you say that your readers are all around 25. I am almost twice your age … but I have more in common with you than with most people my own age, who are mired down and numbed out with their big cars and big houses. I read several blogs written in this same vein and it definitely keeps me feeling younger. Thank you for all of the inspiration.

  80. Selina says:

    I just ran across your site and read this article. I like what I have seen so far. This is a great article and I am always telling people to rid of their cable. It is way too expensive and takes up too much time. I have finally been able to get rid of cable, but we have a gaming system and Netflix. My hubby WILL NOT rid of the TV or gaming system, or Netflix for that matter. How can I deal with this? I am trying to make changes for the better with a lot of things and this is just one that I have run across with my spouse not wanting to make the change. Any advice? Thanks!

  81. steve ward says:

    I almost missed your point there tyler, What is a TV? It been so long since i have seen one yes i have one in front of me as i type this BUT.

    I dont use it as a tv but a monitor, in fact after A) getting pissed of at too many commercial’s
    B) getting pissed of at too many bad commercial’s
    c) finding maybe 2% of shows enjoyable to watch

    So i switched to the net i can watch when i want for how long i want. Now that brings me to what you said about saving.

    I always get worked up with someone says you can save money if you get rid of X. It not the fact that saving money is bad it the fact that people don’t believe i will make more money.

    and the fact that money while connects to safe tv watching, is separate from what you do in life. At lest that how i see it but i get your point as hulu says tv rots your brain so space aliens can eat them.

  82. Bunny says:

    I recently had a sig ot/roommate who moved out and took his oversized mammoth television with him. What a relief! I cancelled the cable, turned the entertainment center into yet another bookcase and started counting the hours and cash I had been giving away. I’m a happy girl, and I’m pretty sure if I absolutely have to catch SNL or the Daily Show, I can hulu it. I just haven’t felt compelled to do so. Thanks for a great post!

  83. [...] you get rid of your TV, you can save yourself a lot of time (Tyler Tervoonen says this could save you $133,369 too). Go up on your roof and chuck that TV straight off, just be sure no one is below [...]

  84. Marta says:

    The average american watches 5 hours of TV a day?!?!?!? Isn’t that boring? I mean, half an hour to an hour is ok, and you get distracted, but when I watch more I actually get bored of it. Might be because I’m not american… I’m 15, so I can’t get do this, because my parents and my little sister watch TV, but I’m not even planning to buy a TV when I live alone.

  85. Caro says:

    We were without TV for about 13 years, and our children have learnt to entertain themselves very well. We have recently been exposed to TV again, and I am pretty sure it hasn’t improved our life at all.

  86. Uday says:

    a very nicely written post. I would definitely recommend the use of internet, cos internet gives us the freedom to expand our horizon. Unlike TV which gives what is decided by the broadcaster, the internet is a powerful tool which can feed to your requirements.

  87. Kyle says:

    When it comes down to it, anything you remove will be filled up with a new activity. I’d have to agree that tv becomes a time-suck but in the same way you have to evaluate it’s worth, you should always determine what the value of your time is. This is extremely hard to do in the moment.Sometimes, I am reading a book (and learning!)- I love learning… but I’d rather be hanging out with my friends at the moment. I know I will derive more happiness and overall benefit at the moment from being with my friends rather than doing some solitary reading (despite my desire to do so anyways). Weighing options has to be a constant part of your life but it shouldn’t be invasive. I want to do this more than that. Don’t feel guilty about what you want but make sure you want it the most.

  88. Ronda says:

    Gah I hate tv. I slowly stopped watching in high school and since I have been in college ive only had cable one out of 4 years. I have a tv solely for the dvd player, but I just watch a show or two on a friday afternoon on my computer. cable is going to be obsolete once they start streaming sports broadcasts online, which im sure is happening now or very soon. :D

    Baylor Univ. Senior

  89. So far I love your blog.

    I’ve been without a TV for little more than 10 months. Mainly for the reason I have no time to watch commercials plus I have better things I want to do with my life.

  90. Tory says:

    I see TV more of a waste of time when we all could be doing something more productive and brain stimulating. The money saving is just the bonus and is a long term investment, which doesn’t help with most people’s need for “immediate gratification”. Spending time in Africa on medical missions, more specifically Kenya and South Sudan, I have realized that this is my brain candy. So the following is an example of my take on the “Kill your TV” concept.

    These Kenyan and Sudanese are the most hopeful, happy and faithful people despite their lack of resources. Most of the healthcare issues however, stem from lack of water, which moves me to my point. What is the root cause? Lack of water due to deforestation, which is a major cause of extreme poverty and oppression in impoverished nations. We can continue to spend money on building wells, but that does not get to the root cause. Deforestation is considered one of the primary causes behind the climate change crisis. We need to plant trees. A group called the Eden Reforestation Projects (http://www.edenprojects.org/) has done just this. They not only hire, but also educate the people to plant trees. They have found over the past so many years that the wild animals are returning, the flooding and erosion has largely stopped and the underground aquifers are filling up again. Hence the water is returning on its own, and this is sustainable. It seems in the grand scheme of things that the common denominator is to empower the people to help themselves, which translates into education, leading to incredible strides in improvements in almost all facets of life including healthcare. I can go there and put a Band-Aid on whatever ails them, but I cannot individually fix the global problem. I am however putting my extra time, money and energy into educating people about healthcare, and The Eden Project is empowering them to fix the problem that was created, and if anyone is looking for ways of helping a sustainable project, a small amount of money saved from not paying a cable company can go a long way.

    So this really is just an example making good use of time and money, the importance of sustainable education, understanding that baby steps is how big changes happen, and that we all have a lot to learn from one another. Thank You Tyler for your inspiring and thought provoking blog!

  91. Go Here says:

    Hey there, great web page you’ve got here.

  92. […] How to Instantly Add 8.2 Years and $133,369 to Your Life […]

  93. Macon says:

    I killed my TV in 1998 and since then, I have:
    -built two wooden boats from scratch.
    -trained for and got on the podium in two triathlons.
    -learned to play guitar and started a band that gets paid for gigs.
    -started a company that now grosses over $1m in annual sales and has six employees.
    -restored a 79 IH Scout truck (and other vehicles)
    -served as a church deacon!

  94. Paul says:

    Good sight.

    Very true what you say Tyler about saving money. But to say instant is misleading as it takes years to save money. I haven’t owned a TV for over twenty years and didn’t think about the money side of it.

    My reason for not watching TV is; that it is a brainwashing tool for keeping people dumbed down; forcing them to subconsciously become materialistic, idol-worshiping organic robots.

    It is called programming, because it programs people.

  95. […] too much TV? Cancel your cable.  It’ll save you roughly $ 130k over your lifetime.  Buy an Apple TV or a Roku Player and spend the 99 cents on the few shows you want to watch. […]

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