I’ve Won the Lottery! (Yet I Can’t Claim My Winnings Until 2042)

I’ll explain why in a minute. During times of economic hardship, the lack of money-making opportunities available to people through productive, long-term business and earning activities leads some to focus more on less realistic routes to wealth; namely lotteries, or worse, gambling. The media have a great talent for whipping the public into a lottery frenzy, as witnessed recently in America with the Mega Millions lottery pot of $640 million and  the UK’s Corby bus drivers’ Euromillions win  last month. Even the current UK TV drama The Syndicate is exploring the unforeseen highs and lows of a lottery win for those lucky enough to get their numbers to match.

My view on lotteries:

  1. I would love to win the lottery, the bigger the jackpot the better!
  2. Lotteries are fair game. You know what you’re getting into when you buy a ticket.  You have to be in it to win it. There’s no point being a sore loser if you don’t win; furthermore some people are not more deserving to win it than others, it’s just a lottery, a game of pure chance, available to every adult (except perhaps criminals serving time).
  3. There’s no such thing as a jackpot that’s too big. It’s not ‘public’ money or for sharing prizes out more ”fairly’ or ‘equally’ like it’s some sort of socialist experiment – the pot size is a reflection of the number of tickets sold, all private transactions, so hands off! (if you disagree with this then maybe read point 2 again).
  4. If jackpot limits were capped or distributed in more but lesser cash amounts, fewer people would play, resulting in a much smaller pot and the whole thing wouldn’t interest people enough to want to play. People play because they want to be filthy stinking rich, who doesn’t?
  5. The odds of winning anything decent on lotteries are extremely low. Take the  Euromillions for example, where you have a 1 in 116,531,800 chance for bagging the jackpot, compared to a 1 in 10,000,000 chance of being killed by lightning, or a mere 1 in 2,000,000 chance of dying by falling out of bed, so be careful tonight!
  6. If you do win big, you’d better start thinking like a rich person, otherwise it’ll slip through your fingers in no time.

My lottery experiences:

I’ve played the National Lottery draw regularly through automatic payments for a good ten years. During this time I’ve won a few tenners, and very occasionally the next prize up, typically only between £40-80. At £9 or so by direct debit every month I have definitely not broken even after all this time, never mind getting ahead. I also chip in each week for a few lines on the Euros at work, but nothing there either. Hang on, didn’t I just say I’d won the lottery? Here’s the plan…

  • At my current rate of contributions towards the various lotteries I take part in, including the occasional scratch-card-peer-pressure-tactics from colleagues, I spend about £20 per month on lottery products.
  • If instead I re-route those automatic payments and save the money, investing it in a low cost index fund and hope for an 8% average return, not the generous and rounded 10% that many authors/experts cite (there’s that magic ‘number 10′ again!).
  • I’ll leave it untouched for 30 years.
  • In 2042 it’ll be worth (or I’ll have effectively won) £30,000.

I know it’s not mega bucks to us big-wealth seekers but hopefully you see my point. Imagine if you did get lucky on the lottery this weekend and won £30,000, I’m sure you wouldn’t consider it a small amount, you’d likely be jumping and screaming for joy. Well, that’s how I’m planning to win the lottery from now on. It’s a ‘dead cert’.

Have you recently thrown in the towel on playing the lottery? Have you got the courage to stop playing and relying on games of chance, and the patience needed to take the sure route to wealth?

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