One way to become wealthy is to make a lot of money and figure out how to keep most of it. Just about everyone I’ve ever met understands the first part of that statement. Very few have figured out the second part and it doesn’t work unless you do both. The good news is you don’t have to make a lot of money to become wealthy. All you really have to do is learn how to keep most of whatever it is you do make. That’s where your bicycle comes in.
I recently listened to a Ted talk by Anthony Desnick of NiceRideMN. In it, Mr. Desnick talked about how a lot of people would like to move into town and walk instead of driving everywhere but didn’t feel they could do it because of the high cost of real estate in walkable and bicycle friendly communities. Then he dropped his bombshell and stated that you know, you could afford $100,000 more mortgage if you ditched your car for a bicycle.
I already knew he was right, but I crunched the numbers anyway, just to be sure. According to AAA, the annual cost of car ownership is somewhere around $9,000 per vehicle per year. So what’s the annual cost of $100,000 of mortgage debt? Quite a bit less than $9,000 as it turns out:
So you’re bike is worth $100K. Who knew? Maybe you can afford to live in that trendy bicycle friendly urban village after all. It gets better. Who says that housing in that new place needs to cost $100,000 more than it does in the old place? What if it costs about the same…or less? That’s what happened to us when we moved from the endless sprawl of suburban Indianapolis to Jefferson Iowa. It may be conventional wisdom that bike friendly costs more, but it doesn’t have to. We looked and kept looking until we found what we were after.
Back to the cost of cars. Maybe $9,000 doesn’t seem like a lot of money but when you consider that it’s per car per year for every year you own a car, it becomes significant in a hurry. If you buy your first car when you’re 20 and finally give up the habit when you’re 80, that’s 60 years at $9.000 a year. That’s $540,000 on cars. If you had two cars for most of those years, you blew a million dollars. You could have been wealthy. Now you know. It’s all about choices.
This is a big part of the reason I choose to ride a bicycle. The cost of owning automobiles is ugly. It keeps people down. It kept me down for a long time but not any more. If you want to become wealthy, the easiest way is to stop spending money you don’t absolutely need to spend. If you don’t want to become wealthy but just want to live better without worrying about money all the time, well, the only realistic way to do that is to eliminate the biggest expenses…like cars. Yeah, it requires a bit of an adjustment but it’s easier than you’ve been led to believe. I know. My bike is money in the bank.