Is Playing the Lottery a Good Idea? - Slimmer Payments

Is Playing the Lottery a Good Idea?

Lottery Balls

Playing the lottery is something that many people do every day. Some will only buy tickets when the stakes are high. Only a very few, however, will ever win serious money. Although the stakes – if you win – will likely payout more than the cost of the ticket, regularly buying tickets will cost most people more than they will ever earn.

The Attraction of the Lottery

The main attraction of the lottery is the huge numbers that are occasionally indicated. People become like deer caught in headlights when they see the big winnings. They spend even more to get tickets. Many people would love to have the millions of dollars. But nearly all of them will get nothing but a piece of paper to show for it.

The latest statistics (2017) reveal that $73.5 billion in tickets were sold that year. Surveys have revealed that about half of Americans buy lotto tickets, spending about $86 monthly, or around $1,040 annually.

The Odds Are Against Winning

When buying a lottery ticket, the odds are greatly stacked against the likelihood of winning. Although most people are vaguely aware of that fact, they continue to spend money every week – for nothing in return. They continue to hope that one day they will get lucky – which will almost never happen. Some predict that the odds of winning the big prize in Powerball to be just under 1 in 290 million.

Although people with more money will think little of spending $1,000 per year, those who make less and find money to be tight could certainly use that money for better things. It seems, though, that people who make less are likely to spend even more per month than those that make more money. They spend as much as $115 per month compared to about $75 per month.

Better Ways to Spend Money

Instead of taking a gamble with your money each week on something with almost zero returns – compared with what it costs per year – there certainly are better options that will provide real returns. If you were to take $84 per month and save it, even without interest it would give you $1,000 per year!

Most financial experts say that you can almost be certain of earning much more than the lottery will ever give you by investing that same money (up to $115 per month) somewhere else. The average stock will give you about 10% interest if you hold on to it over the years. 

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There are many other ways to use your money that would give you something to show for it. You could use it to reduce your debt and build your credit score. You could use it to create an emergency fund or invest it. Or, you can put it into a retirement fund or an education account for your children.

Investing Your Money

If you have money that you don’t need to pay your regular bills, you can invest it in several ways. Several investment companies will use their expertise to invest your money. They will produce a larger profit than you often could on your own. This means you do not need to know much about the stock market. Some companies have apps that will let you control your money and use robo-advisors to ensure you invest it the way you want.

As you get older and think more about retirement, you will wish that you put more money into sure investments rather than gambling on something that probably will never happen. It really is up to you how you use your money, but instead of having regrets in your senior years, why not start preparing for them wisely now?

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