(Guest post by Charlie while J$ reads The Millionaire Next Door to his baby ;))
I suffer from what people call male pattern balding. My grandpa was completely bald by age 30, my dad is 59 now and doing everything he can to “comb over” the problem, and then there is me. I’m 35 and I’ve still got a lot of “crops” left on the upper dome, but let’s be honest – it’s thinning! (Insert Homer Simpson “DOH” here..)
Thinning hair is something I can’t do much about… at least that’s my philosophy. It’s not like something you can control. However, when I was just out of college I noticed my widow’s peak was beginning to be more pronounced. I’d heard a little about Drug_XYZ (a little pill for hair growth), and I’d seen some commercials for its competitor Rogaine, so I decided to contact my doctor about both of them and see if I could get a prescription.
I came into the doc’s office, and here’s how the conversation transpired:
Doc: Hey, Charlie, what are we seeing you for today?
Charlie: Doc, I feel like my hair is starting to thin, and I’m only 23. I was wondering if you recommended Drug_XYZ (which I need a prescription for) or Rogaine?
Doc: Ok, well let me have a look. (Doc examines my scalp)
Doc: So, Charlie, how old are you?
Charlie: Um… 23. (Doc pauses for a second, and thinks)
Doc: So let me get this straight. You are 23 years old and you are contemplating going on a hair growth drug for, let’s just say, until you are 65?
Charlie: Well…I was just looking into it.
Doc: Let me give you little piece of advice before you dive into this. Take Drug_XYZ for example. It costs about $50/month. If you were to go on this drug for 42 years, how much do you think it would cost in the end? (Doc gets out his calculator)
Doc: Try $25,200 (as he pridefully shows me the calculator). Have you considered Rogaine? It’s a lot less expensive and doesn’t require a prescription.
Parting with $50/month at 23 years of age is hard to do. Especially when you aren’t making much just out of college. So I looked at what the difference would be between the little pill drug and Rogaine. Being the “thrifty guy” I am, I naturally had to break down the cost vs benefits between the two:
Like for many things in our life, parting with money is a tradeoff. Is the money in my wallet worth X amount satisfaction. In this case, is $150/year worth X number of new hair follicles? Or for Drug_XYZ, is $30,000 over 50 years worth more to me than an equivalent 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe?
Personally I don’t care what people say, and would give anything to look like my Grandpa at 92 years old! He lived through the Great Depression, and would make fun of me if he ever heard I had thought about buying Rogaine or Prescription. Our conversation would go something like this:
“What? Hair growth drugs? Why would you spend your money on that? You know how long it would have taken me to save $50 during the depression, Charlie? 50 days! When I was making $1/day on the farm I thought I was living large. Don’t be a fool, and spend your money on crap!”
With our society so stuck on looks, perfumes, makeup, laser hair removal, liposuction, and countless beauty products it makes you wonder. What are we thinking? Is temporal “beauty” worth X number of dollars for a particular beauty product? Here are a few alternative options to consider spending your money on.
- Donating $50 a month to a local single moms shelter – instead of investing in your personal beauty consider giving the money you’d spend on makeup to a single mom’s shelter.
- Vanguard Managed Payout Funds – invest in a payout fund that will pay you monthly for your investment.
- Serve at a local food bank – instead of spending or giving money have you thought of investing your time? Call a local food bank and consider giving time to people less fortunate.
- Setup your Living Will to give back to a certain cause for 50 years after you’re gone – have you considered setting up an annuity that will payout after you’re dead? Consider setting up an annuity towards your alma mater, church, food bank, or national charity.
So bring on the rockin’ bald dome! I’m ready to drive my shiny new 1965 Mustang!
Charlie is one of three who blogs at Three Thrifty Guys – a site dedicated to helping people stretch their dollars, invest better, and get out of the bondage of debt. He’s an Iowa farm boy with a passion for learning from history, and frequently writes on the Great Depression. Currently, TTG is doing a video series on the Great Depression, so check them out!
(Mustang photo by dok1. Grandpa photo from Charlie’s family!)