The Investment Scientist

The best investment I’ve ever made

Posted on: August 8, 2012

Person holding house

I got my power bill yesterday for the first time after moving into my new house. I instantly felt half a million dollars richer.

When we purchased the new house, one of the biggest concerns we had was the utility bill. The previous owners showed us that they spent $1,000 on power and gas each month and that number was pretty constant year round. The house was in good shape, but the windows had not been replaced for 20 years and were leaky.

So the first thing we did after settlement was to replace all the windows.

The total cost of window replacement was just below $8,000. (Normally, it would have cost $15,000, but that’s another article on how to work with home improvement contractors.)

When we got our bill for the first month we were in the new house, we were delighted that the total power and gas expenditure was only $150. We saved $850 a month!

That’s $10,200 a year! If I am able to invest $10,200 every year and get an 8% average return, by the time I retire 20 years later, the money will have grown to $525k – half a million dollars!

The lesson I learned? Some of the best investments are right in your home. Making sure your house is properly insulated will go a long way toward a secure retirement.

Get my white paper: The Informed Investor: 5 Key Concepts for Financial Success.

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.


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