• Shane Dillon

The Opportunity Cost of a Beer Gut

Behold! The beer gut. To some, it is an art form. It takes hours and weeks and years of laborious drinking to achieve optimal roundness in the midsection that will hopefully, one day, double as a beer holder.

Oh, the glorious beer gut

Don’t be deceived, there is nothing glorious about acquiring a beer gut. The physical result of obtaining a beer gut represents years of wasted time and money. It represents an unhealthy lifestyle, one that is void of exercise and mental fitness. It represents an express ticket to an early departure caused be any number of diseases that are stored in the visceral fat that comprises those extra pounds.

Oh, the not so glorious beer gut.

What does a beer gut cost an individual?

No idea! But, for argument’s sake, let’s open the discussion, logically. If you drink three beers a night over the course of a year, you’ll probably get a pretty good start.

Doing the math, three beers a night for a year comes to a whopping 1,095 beers, which equates to two to three thousand dollars spent on booze, depending if you drink the beers in a bar or take home a six-pack every other night.

Alright, so now that one has invested in a thousand beers and lost a couple of thousands of dollars, let’s continue entertaining this mathematical exercise.

Multiply these numbers by twenty years and you’ve got one hell of a beer gut. The beer gut, at this point, has consumed north of 20,000 beers and wasted more than $40,000 of your hard-earned money.

Sadly, we have not even considered how many hours are wasted drinking and sitting on the couch, and not exercising enough, because of, well...the beer gut . This is not counting that your beer consumption has taken a toll on your liver and health. Heck, we could even throw in the cost of a couple of doctor visits.

But, hey! On the positive side, all of the hard work has paid off and you’ve got a beautiful, mountainous belly to set your beer on while you get lost in the TV to numb the pain.

Now let’s look at the opportunity cost of a beer gut.


Opportunity costs represent the benefits an individual, investor or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another.

Let’s assume you spend five dollars a day on beer to obtain your beer gut. That’s $150 a month.

Annual cost of drinking beer in this example: $150 per month times 12 months = $1,800

Amount spent over a 20 year period: $1,800 per year times 20 years = $36,000

Opportunity cost if you would have invested the same amount in the stock market for 20 years and returned the historical rate of return of 7%:

Starting Value = 0

Monthly Payment = $150

Annual Rate of Return = 7%

Years Invested = 20

Future Value = $78,139

That is $36,000 you contributed and $42,139 of profits to get $78,139 at the end of 20 years.

Now let’s take it a step further and assume that you work on your beer gut for 40 years or from the age of 21 to 61 years old. What do you think the opportunity cost would be?

Opportunity cost if you would have invested it in the stock market for 40 years at the historical rate of return of 7%

Starting Value = 0

Monthly Payment = $150

Annual Rate of Return = 7%

Years Invested = 40

Future Value = $393,722

That is $72,000 contributed and $321,722 in profits to get $393,722 at the end of 40 years.

In other words, by investing in your beer gut you are missing out on $393,722 that you could have had in a retirement account.

Not only does this little exercise illustrate how expensive a beer gut is, but it is also a good representation of how powerful compounding interest can be over long periods of time. With compounding interest the longer you can keep your money invested, the stronger and faster your money multiplies.

If you are on the path to building your shelf-like beer gut - WAKE UP! A few beers every once in a while with friends is a good thing. But drinking every day for the sake of being bored or to entertain yourself in front of the TV, really does lead to a bad look and an unfulfilling lifestyle. Your body is telling you something when it forms a beer gut. But, you’re too unconscious to listen to your own body’s advice:

You are poisoning yourself and heading for an early departure. Don’t go there.

Instead, be a mindful person. Use your time and money to pursue a healthy, purpose-driven lifestyle that maximizes your happiness and prolongs your time on this wonderful planet.

Remember, you write your own script! Journey forth to a happy ending.

Written on 12/27/2019 in Ao Nang, Thailand while sipping on a Chang beer in O’ Malley’s Pub

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