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Starbucks Stole My Retirement!

We finance types love to call out those daily expenditures that fritter away hard-earned paychecks. (Guilty!) Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) in particular takes a beating in these oft-cited budgeting scenarios.

As I sit here sipping my deadline beverage of choice -- venti java-chip (with whip and chocolate topper) -- I'm not going to tell you to forgo your daily performance-enhancing cocktail. I won't even rail on that stale deli sandwich and those half-read magazines clogging the recycling bin if these daily vices truly add to your quality of life. What's $6.49 here and $3.50 there?

How about $4,950? That's a number that deserves a bit of attention. Here's how easy it is to blow that kind of coin in a year, with nary a coffee expenditure in sight:

Cash Drain Annual Cost

Not shopping around
for best car insurance

Missed tax deductions
and credits
Useless tools, clothes,
or trinkets
Rarely watched premium
cable stations
Ignoring employer
401(k) match
Neglecting to refinance
the mortgage
Accepting credit card's
interest rate
College savings in
tax-unfriendly account
Ignoring medical flexible
spending account
TOTAL $5,470

Maybe you don't see yourself in the above scenario. You live by your cable subscription and the kids have a full ride to Kidult Camp U. After you pick up our lunch tab, let's discuss what else might be beating down your budget.

Your "latte factor" -- a phrase coined to describe the daily cash drain -- may be less obvious. After all, what's 59 basis points (just a smidge more than one half of a percentage) here and there?

It's $300,000, actually. That's not the kind of cash you're likely to let slip.

If you don't watch the little things, something like a few basis points can add up to mind-blowing amounts over the years. Take this example from author Jeremy Siegel: Compare a $1,000 investment earning a compounded average annual return of 14.42% with one earning 13.83% -- that's right, 59 basis points less. After 53 years, the investment earning 13.83% will amount to $961,000. Hold your touchdown dance. Add in that trickle of extra returns over the years, and you end up with $1.26 million.

That's the difference between investing in ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) and IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) . Both were great stocks for shareholders who held for decades. But Exxon turned out to be just a little bit better -- assuming your definition of "a little bit" includes "$300 grand."

There are lots of little things besides daily lattes or online speed shoe-shopping that can kill your retirement. I recently counted fiveidiot IRA moves -- many of which can go unnoticed -- that can ravage a well-planned retirement.

More retirement killers
If only we could charge Starbucks for stealing our retirement savings! But the blame game would not be complete if we failed to call out our own stupid human tricks. Resident retirement guru Robert Brokamp has done the self-flagellation for you in "9 Retirement Killers."

Grab a cup of Joe and take a gander.

For more on asset allocation, keeping the most money for yourself (and not Uncle Sam), and safe withdrawal rates, giveMotley Fool Rule Your Retirementa 30-day, no-obligation free trial, and receive our "10 Monster Stocks" special report.

Dayana Yochim owns none of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a speed-read -- after you've finished your Mountain Dew.

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10/21/2016 2:28 PM
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