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Saturday, December 27, 2014

MegaMillions At $172 Million

The lottery is one of those things that people either love, or hate, or perhaps even love to hate. The fact is that the odds are terribly stacked against the average player. Still, I have to look at a couple of things whenever I consider whether or not it is worth forking over a buck or two and playing. One big one for me is the fact that somebody has to win. And in many ways, despite the terrible odds against me, it causes me to consider that playing is indeed worth my money, and worth my time.

Of course, like anything having to do with gambling, or even socking money into a speculative stock market investment, the risk can only be taken if it happens to be money you can afford to lose. If it's down to putting gas in the tank, or food on the table versus buying a lottery ticket, of course you choose the former over the latter.

Another fact I consider are statistics that were compiled by TLC's docuseries How The Lottery Changed My Life. It happens to be a fascinating thing to watch by the way, especially when you see certain people who wound up winning a fortune, only to wind up broke due to a variety of factors, but mostly due to poor money management.

That goes in hand with something I have always believed, and that is that the rich get richer because they know how to be rich, and the poor get poorer because they don't know how to get rich. That is sometimes thought to be a bit of a controversial statement. But think of all of the rich who lost it all on a bad business deal, only to make millions on a good one? Or how about all of the musicians and sports players who made fortunes, only to wind up broke in the end? If you don't know what you are doing when it comes to money, any amount of money will not make a bit of difference in the end.

What did TLC find? The fact is that the lottery, for all its naysayers, creates roughly 1,600 new millionaires every single year. Breaking the math down a bit further that is roughly 4 new millionaires created every single day of the year.

Granted, billions of tickets are sold each year, and so while that does make 1,600 millionaires seem like a pittance compared, that's still a lot of people coming into new money just because they forked over a dollar or two to play the lottery.

The MegaMillions next drawing is worth $172 million. Even the Powerball is worth $110 million in tonight's drawing. You can bet I'll be playing. And of course, I don't expect to win. But since somebody must win, if there is any chance that that someone could be me, I have to have a ticket in my hand to be a possible winner. As the old saying goes, you cannot win if you do not play. And after all, what's a buck?

1 comment:

Ramesh said...

Economically, there can be little to argue against a flutter, as long as its spare change as you have observed. But philosophically I have a problem against sudden wealth. Studies of lottery winners a decade or two later show much higher suicide rates and general misery. Part of it is because of what you have mentioned - the poor may not "know" how to stay rich. But part is also that sudden "unearned" wealth plays havoc with value systems of people.

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