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How long to keep a cell phone?

If you are wondering what does being a millionaire have to do with mobile phones, please bear with me.  While it is hard to find accurate estimates, but CNBC estimates that on an average Americans spend about $125 a month for their cell phones after accounting for the cost of the monthly plan, taxes, and the amount that goes each month to pay down the cost of the phone.  Think about it!  It is a cool $1,500 a year for simply being able to stay in touch with loved ones, get directions, search online, etc.

How much do I spend on a cell phone each month?

Well, I am a cheapo when it comes to spending money (and that as you may be learning by now is the secret to my being a millionaire).  When Xfinity Mobile launched a cell phone plan, they want you to sign up for other services from them like cable TV, Internet, home phone, etc.  We were already their customers, so for us, it was not even an issue.  Initially, they gave us 100 MB a data for free and there was no other charge, except for taxes.  They also gave us an LG phone that was heavily discounted so we just had to pay $180 over two years.  So altogether, for both my wife and I, we were paying just about $30 a month.  After two years, the phone was fully paid off, but they forced us to pay $12 a month for 1 gig of data, so it was not just taxes any more but we now pay just about $20 a month for both lines and our phones are 5 years old.  By the way, the smartphones work just fine.

Imagine an extra $100 invested each month!

Do you see what is going on here?  If you do that assuming an 8% return over five years invested in S&P 500 ETF, this is what you will have.

Folks, that is over $7,000.  Now some of you will argue why you need the latest phone but the reality is that no one cares that you have the newest phone.  People are too self-absorbed to care about the phone you have.  As long as a phone gets the job done (calling someone, getting directions, conducting basic searches, etc.) you will do just fine.  And, the phone that you currently have was the coolest phone not too long ago.  This cycle will continue and at every point your phone will not be the latest model.  Trying to keep up is an exercise in giving your hard-earned money to Apple or Google or Samsung while you could be investing it in the stock market.

How do I use my phone?

I basically use it only when I must.  Unless there is a need, I don't make phone calls or use any data.  I can simply use wi-fi when I am at home to make calls or search.  However, when I need directions or need to conduct a search, I turn the data on only for that brief duration.  So we never exceed the 1 GB data that we are paying for.  And what if my friends and family think that we have a rather old phone?  Who cares?  If we don't have money, trust me, all those people who might have admired your newest gadget, will avoid you like the plague and might even make fun of you for being so poor.