How to Save $200,000 for Your SpaceX Ticket to Mars
Start pinching pennies now.
When Elon Musk outlined his grand plan for getting people to Mars, he aimed to make traveling to the red planet affordable.
“If we can get the cost of moving to Mars to the cost of a median house price in the U.S., which is around $200,000, then I think the probability of establishing a self-sustaining civilization is very high,” he said.
There’s just one problem: A lot of people don’t own houses. Ten years ago, 69 percent of Americans lived in houses they owned. Today, that number is 63.6 percent. For Americans under the age of 35, that figure is even lower: just 34.1 percent of millennials own a home.
So if you don’t have a house to sell, how do you scrape together enough cash for a ticket to Mars so you can chill with Leonardo DiCaprio?
You’re not going to need the money tomorrow, but let’s say you have about 10 years to save up. Priya Malani, founder of financial advising firm Stash Wealth, points out that a $200,000 price tag — assuming Musk was referring to today’s dollars — will actually be $268,783 after ten years of typical inflation.
If you stick your money under your mattress, Malani says, you’ll need to squirrel away $74 every day. Your savings go a bit further if you invest your money in the market, but you’ll still need to put away $48 every day for the next ten years.
That’s a pretty big chunk of change, but Malani has some tips for saving up to make your Mars dream a reality.
“It’s a good idea to use either a high yield savings account, like CapitalOne360, Ally, or Amex Savings, or an investment account where you can invest so that hopefully your money grows more than it would in a savings account,” Malani told Inverse in an email. Malani also suggests giving the account a nickname. “Studies show that if you nickname your savings account, you’re more motivated to save and less likely to touch your savings for other things.”
Save Any Found Money
Whether it’s $20 from your grandma on your birthday or a big, year-end bonus at work, stick that free money in your account. You weren’t planning on that income anyway.
Give Up Other Goals
“I suppose that if you’re hell bent on moving to Mars, you may want to pass on short-term travel opportunities or buying a house to meet your savings goal,” Malani said. Earth can be pretty cool, but just keep reminding yourself how much more awesome Mars is going to be.
Start a GoFundMe campaign or host a telethon. Basically, find some way to get other people to give you money for your trip.
Get a Side Hustle
“The possibilities are endless to raise extra cash,” Malani said. “Happen to have an eye for photography? Offer to take photos of special occasions during your nights and/or weekends. Handy? Offer to take on odd jobs in your free time.”
Don’t Get Married
Weddings are expensive. They average wedding costs around $30,000, says Malani, so if you really want to get hitched, consider City Hall.
What About Student Loans?
Chances are good you have a mountain of student loans to pay off on top of paying for a trip to Mars. Malani says there are two paths you can take. For the risk averse, figure out a way to pay off that debt before you board the spacecraft. “We advise that as much as 20% of your net paycheck, what you take home, should go to paying off your debt.”
If you’re feeling a bit more reckless, Malani offers different advice. “Pay the minimum on your student loans and pray the creditors don’t chase you to Mars.”