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Cable TV or retirement - you decide. How much does a lifetime of cable cost? While the cost of monthly cable packages varies significantly, the average is about $80 a month. Multiply that cost by 50 years and it totals a whopping $48,000. If you think that number is alarming, wait until you see the next one.

If you invest that $80 a month in a low cost S&P 500 index fund that returns 8 percent annually, the amount grows to an eye-popping $638,000. That's a lot of dough to pay for 500 channels of TV most people will never watch. If you can bump up your returns to 9 percent, the number grows to almost $1 million.


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