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Quitting smoking could speed up property purchase

Written by: Emma Lunn
Cash savings from giving up smoking could get you on the housing ladder in seven years.

Reformed smokers who save the cash they previously spent on cigarettes could have enough for a property deposit in seven years, according to Hargreaves Lansdown.

The investment company calculated that at a price of £8.70 for 20 cigarettes, and an average consumption of 11 cigarettes a day, smoking costs an average of £1,746.53 a year.

Quitters could use this money to pay for a two-week five-star holiday all-inclusive in Cancun in September – or a 13 inch MacBook Pro.

If you gave up for 10 years, your savings of £17,465 could buy a new Audi A1 or a year-long round-the-world air ticket. After 13 years, an 11-a-day smoker would save enough to put a 10 per cent deposit down on the average UK property, costing £228,903.

If you gave up a 20-a-day habit, you’d save about £3,176 a year and it would take just over seven years to save the property deposit of £22,890.

Nearly two-thirds (58 per cent) of smokers want to quit, according to the Office for National Statistics. This figure isn’t surprising when you consider that the price of tobacco has risen 97 per cent in the past 10 years, and become 30 per cent less affordable.

The price rise may be one of the reasons the number of people who smoke has fallen. About one in seven (14.7 per cent) people aged over 18 in the UK were smokers in 2018, down from 15.1 per cent in 2017.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says: “Smokers are watching their money go up in smoke. Giving up cigarettes is the single best thing you can do for your wealth – as well as your health.

“Nobody is pretending that giving up is easy, or else the 58 per cent of smokers who plan to quit would already be smoke-free. However, by taking small steps, and getting any help you need, you can stop smoking burning a hole in your finances, and save a small fortune. Someone smoking 20-a-day would save enough for a property deposit in just seven years.”

Other savings

It’s not just the savings on the cigarettes themselves, ex-smokers also get a better deal on other things along the way. Life insurance can be up to 50 per cent more expensive for smokers.

A survey a few years ago found that a third of landlords had withheld deposits from smokers because of the cleaning required afterwards. The same study showed that smoking in a property made it harder to find a buyer, and that a quarter of homebuyers would expect a discount for a property previously occupied by a smoker.

If you develop a smoking-related health condition, everything from health insurance and travel insurance will also cost more.

The flip side

Although you’ll pay the price for smoking throughout your life, smokers get a better deal when they buy an annuity.

A 65-year old non-smoker with £100,000 in their pension pot could buy a level annuity offering an annual income of £5,079. A 20-a-day smoker, meanwhile, would be offered £6,001 – or £922 more every year. The income difference is because annuity companies predict that smokers won’t live as long as non-smokers.


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