The start of Lent this week gives all those whose new year resolutions have already fallen by the wayside a second shot at redemption.
This is an ideal time to give up a bad habit, be it gambling, drinking or smoking and save thousands of pounds a year. Traditionally, exhortations to abstain from such activities are made by religious leaders. Now fund managers are joining in by pointing out the financial, rather than spiritual, consequences of virtue. Instead of money going up in smoke it could be fructifying in your pension fund or lopping years off your mortgage.
For example, stubbing out a smoking habit and putting the money towards your mortgage will mean you avoid the deleterious effects of compound interest on those who remain in debt for long periods. . .
Virgin One and Virgin Direct have come up with a few ideas of how Britain's 12 million smokers could put the money they to good use, with some startling results. If the savings made from giving up smoking a packet of cigarettes a day were put towards a Virgin One account mortgage instead, the extra money would help pay down the borrowings nine years and eight months ahead of time and save nearly 34,000 pounds in mortgage interest payments. . .
There is no guarantee that you will live longer - although it will certainly feel that way - but statistics strongly suggest that reformed smokers will be wealthier and healthier.
Electronic Telegraph (Mar 3, 2001), by Alexandra Jackson-Proes,