Have you ever thought that you would somehow beat the odds and win the lottery? If you have, you’ve got plenty of company. In fact, about one out of every three people in America think that winning the lottery is the only way to become financially secure in their lifetime. Yikes!!! This is a frightening statistic on many levels.
You won’t win the jackpot, but there is still a way to win on every draw.
Everyone knows that the probability of winning the lottery is one heck of a long shot… for everyone else that is! How remote are the odds of winning the jackpot? Your actual odds of winning the lottery depend on where you play, but to hit the jackpot in single state lotteries your odds are about 18 million to 1, while multiple state lotteries have odds as high as 120 million to 1.
Are you able to picture 18 million people? I can’t, but I can picture the crowd at the Super Bowl. How many attend the annual Super Bowl? Let’s say 100,000. Now imagine 180 Super Bowls being played at the same time. To accurately reflect the odds, out of all those people, 180 Super Bowls, just one person will be plucked from the crowd to win the coveted grand prize.
To put it in another perspective, this would be like adding up the Super Bowl crowd for an incredible 180 years, just to amass enough people to match the odds. Do you see how ridiculously remote your chances of winning the jackpot really are? It makes me nauseous to think that some people are counting on the lottery scheme for their old-age financial security.
Interesting stats from the law of averages.
In 2004, the average American spent more on lotteries than on reading materials or attending movies. The average spent on lotteries that year was $184. The average return on lotteries is only fifty-three cents on the dollar. For the average investor, over a forty-year period, the stock market returns 811% more than the lottery.
A number of years back at a family reunion, someone proudly announced that they had just won several hundred dollars in a lottery. After the usual good wishes and congratulations subsided my Uncle Peter calmly said that he had figured out a system that allowed him to consistently beat the lotteries. Naturally we all scoffed but at the same time we urged him to share his secret to the Holy Grail. Uncle Peter just smiled and waved us off, but he peaked our interest so we wouldn’t be dissuaded.
After a few minutes of cajoling he asked which of us played on a regular basis. Several people admitted that they played on occasion… but just for fun of course. “How much do you spend?” Uncle Peter inquired. The consensus averaged around fifteen dollars a week. “That’s incredible!” gasped Uncle Peter, “because that’s exactly how much I’m ahead each week.” Some of the family rolled their eyes and groaned because they immediately saw where he was going. A few others continued to pressure him to reveal the formula. Finally he relented and shared the secret. “My secret to coming out ahead every week is this… I don’t play! Every week I don’t play, I’m ahead.”
Among the jeers and laughter and a few well-aimed dinner rolls, Uncle Peter laughingly insisted his reasoning had total merit. “If I compare myself to the people who play every week,” he said, I really do come out ahead on every single draw. After every lottery I am guaranteed to have $15 in my pocket. If you play and don’t win, you’re out $15. In fact, when I compare myself to the people who play, I win $15 every single week.”
From one standpoint Uncle Peter’s logic is unassailable. On the other hand, I’m not about to suggest that people shouldn’t gamble or play the lotteries. That’s the last thing I would do. I will say however, that everyone should do themselves a huge favor and get out of the “something-for-nothing mentality, and the quicker the better.
Playing lotteries or gambling are two perfectly legitimate forms of fun and entertainment, but only under the scrutiny of the following two reasons;
Number one: if you play you can truly afford to lose the money. That means losing won’t affect your happiness, your lifestyle, or your long-term financial health in any way.
Number two: (assuming you can say yes to number one), you really, truly enjoy playing.
If you love the fun, the excitement, the suspense or whatever it is you get out of playing, more than you value the money you lose, then you win every time you play.
If you can’t say “yes” to both reasons for playing, then you may want to try the other method of winning every week… follow Uncle Peter’s example and stop playing!