You, like just about everyone else I know, would have at some point fantasized about what you would do should you win the lottery. How it would solve all your problems, allow you to take that cruise, have that surgery, clear your mortgage, whatever. If I won lottery, I muse as I drive down the highway, I would become debt-free, buy a house, schedule a trip and invest. I wouldn’t be foolish with the money, and if push came to shove, maybe I’d even be generous with it (yeah right). But would winning the lottery really turn out to be a money miracle and cure all my woes?
The sad news is, in a majority of cases, the answer to that is no. All those famous stories- the vet who needed surgery who won the lottery, the young Scot who just bought one ticket- invariably they don’t end with happily ever after. I’m sure if you sifted through the sad stories, you would find people who by and large enjoyed their money.
But a quick Google only shows up a lot of sad stories, so why do we continue to buy Lotto tickets? Why do we continue to get excited when we read yet another story about some surprise Lotto winner. Part of it is, I think, that generally we like fairy tales. We like rags to riches. I certainly do. Jenn from Smart Money Daily also thinks it has a lot to do with our love of getting something for nothing. You put in $1 and come away with millions.
Smart Money Daily spotlights a man who won the lottery and could end his days in the oil fields as a result. He still lives in a mobile home, he hates going out because people invariably hit him up for cash, and says that he would rather he had never won it. We all know these stories, and yet we continue to court the fantasy that is the lottery.
So, instead of spending $1 on a lottery ticket, what are better uses for your buck?
Put a dollar a day in your piggy bank, and you’ll end up with a tidy little sum at the end of the year. It might not make you an instant millionaire, but you won’t have people knocking on your door at all hours seeing if you can lend them a couple of hundred.
Invest in the sharemarket
I’m not suggesting you put the money in $1 at a time, but if you like the thrill of chance, then the stock market has a much higher chance of actually returning a profit on the money. Set aside what you would usually spend on lotto tickets for a couple of years, and then invest it. It’s got all the kicks of a lotto ticket, and much higher odds. Obviously, researching and investing wisely are important, even if you’ve only got a couple of hundred dollars to invest.
Pay off your credit card instead
Again, bank transfers will do you in if you transfer this one dollar at a time, but setting aside the money and using it to help pay off a credit card is no bad thing.
In the end, lotto tickets aren’t much fun, whether you win or lose. Better to buy yourself a chocolate bar with the money, at least then you’ll have endorphins.