The real winners are people who don't play!
Why You Shouldn't Play the Lottery
by Lee Doppelt
In January 2016 a Powerball game had a jackpot of $1.5 billion. Your odds of winning were 1 in 292 million! Chances are that you didn't win! But you figure that there's always next week's drawing. Maybe you buy a lotto ticket weekly. Possibly you just bought one for a recent high stakes game, either in hopes of winning or maybe just for the thrill. According to the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), a non-profit organization founded in 1987, proceeds from these games are returned to state lotteries. The first Powerball drawing, just one of several MUSL games, was in 1992. Tickets are $2 each and are drawn each Wednesday and Saturday. Powerball is considered to be the premium jackpot game, according Powerball.com.
The tremendous odds against winning a big lottery are just one reason not to waste your money on this legalized form of gambling.
In a February 11, 2012 Forbes article by Deborah L. Jacobs (updated January 2016), regarding truths and myths about people and their spending habits after winning large jackpots, Jacobs stressed acquiring information before cashing that winning ticket, especially facts pertaining to paying federal and state taxes.
Winning the lottery won't be your financial or emotional savior!
Eliminating debt is often mentioned as a financial goal of a large jackpot winner. But statistics show that those people often ultimately end up in debt again.
A lottery win won't fix intangible challenges in your life either. That feud you've had going on with your sister won't magically disappear simply because you won a jackpot. And if your kids have unacceptable study skills, having suddenly wealthy parents won't transform them into scholars. If someone in the family has some sort of substance abuse issue, becoming rich won't fix that either. And, if you win some big lottery, don't be surprised at all the new "friends" that want to become part of your world. You might develop some trust issues or want to simply hide in a cave.
Related: 3 Critical Tools for Paying Off Debt
With a solid plan and some patience you, no matter how desperate your financial situation, can achieve financial goals without winning the lottery.
If you really want to get out of debt, you must change your spending habits, so your money coming in is greater than your money going out. It's an amazingly simple concept really. In second grade, you were stumped when you tried to do arithmetic and somehow got a negative answer. It's the same situation with accumulating debt!
When you see a news interview with a large jackpot winner, you often hear the "lucky person" state that they'll use the money to buy a yacht or an additional home. A yacht, depending on where you live, may get very little use and can be a costly proposition when you calculate storage and maintenance costs and the potential stresses that come with owning more "stuff" that you don't need.
If you currently own a house, you already know the headaches associated with keeping it maintained. Whether it's a plugged toilet or something more expensive like needing a roof or furnace, homeownership comes at an emotional price. Would you really want a second home, one that possibly sits vacant some of the time, where problems like mold or vermin can surprise you when you're away from this second home? It may be best to rethink acquiring a second home!
Helping family is an honorable thing to do, but there are more reasonable ways than having an extra billion or so in your checking account! Assist your family by babysitting their children, so they can go out to an occasional movie. Purchase larger quantities of groceries in bulk with them to save on food bills. Invite them over to your house for potluck dinners. Assist them in putting in a garden, so they can save money on food. These are just a few ways that you can help your family.
And, if you can't put yourself on a plan to improve your financial situation, there are professionals who can help get you onto the right path to get out and stay out of debt forever, even if your income is not huge. It's time to stop dreaming about easy fixes to a financially fractured life and become realistic with about how much money you have and how much you need and establish some specific financial goals.
Reviewed January 2018
Take the Next Step:
- Is debt making it difficult to make ends meet each month? Find out how to get help to create a personalized debt payoff plan tailored to your debt burden, budget and lifestyle.
- Forget the lottery. Find debt payoff strategies that work.
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