Let me start this post with a statement that even the dullest of you can get behind. Playing the lottery is a colossally bad idea.
Say you’re playing Canada’s most popular lottery, Lotto 6-49. As the namesake implies, you’d have to match the six chosen numbers out of the first 49 numbers to win the grand prize. Usually this grand prize ranges from a couple million bucks to occasionally 50 million or more. Since the Canadian government is kind enough not to tax lottery winners, the lucky moron who picked all six numbers right gets to keep every dime of their earnings.
Of course, winning the lottery is an incredibly unlikely event. I’m way too lazy to figure it out myself, but a quick search tells me the odds of winning Lotto 6-49 is about 1 in 13 million. The following events are more likely to happen than you winning the lottery:
– Getting a royal flush in poker: 1 in 649,000
– Getting two holes in one in one golf round: 1 in 9.2 million
– Having a threesome with those two hot girls you know: 1 in 2.9 million*
*I bet the chances of that threesome would increase greatly if you won the lottery first. Everyone’s got a price, right?
By far my favorite description for the lottery is that it’s a tax on stupidity. Is it any wonder that, statistically, the average lottery player also happens to be of a lower income? After all, a lower income is generally a good indicator of below average intelligence. The person with a lower income has more reason to play the lottery too, since their life will be comparably better if they happen to match all the numbers.
I’m sure you’ve watched the t.v specials that portray former lottery winners who’ve gone broke. There are all sorts of people who cash in that lucky ticket, only to be broke again after a few short years. Then they show up on one of those t.v specials, whining about how winning the lottery ruined their life. And I, for one, am tired of it.
If somebody pisses away the money the lottery gave them, they have absolutely nobody to blame but themselves. Coming up with a way to make millions of dollars last for years is incredibly easy- you just DON’T SPEND IT. Yet the people who win the lottery continually don’t figure this out. That’s because, as we’ve already established, you’re not very good at math if you’re playing the lottery in the first place.
I’m quite okay with the way this works. The lottery winner spends like a prince for a few years, runs out of money, and then has to go get a real job again. In the meantime, his spending stimulates the economy, helps to generate jobs, which in turn further stimulates the economy. Money is taken from the stupid, given to someone else who’s stupid, and then redistributed throughout the economy. This is generally good for the economy in general. It’s not so good for the guy who spent all his lottery winnings, but if he’s stupid enough to do it then that’s his own fault.
Here’s what really makes me mad. How many times have you heard this before:
If someone handed me a winning lottery ticket. I wouldn’t cash it.
Every time I hear someone say that I want to punch them in the face. They’re a million times worse than the people who cash it and then blow it.
If someone handed you the ability to provide for your children for the rest of your life, you’d be an absolute idiot not to take advantage of that. You’d never have to worry about losing your job again, or getting disabled, or even disliking work. You could afford to quit and knit tea kettle cozies for all I care. That’s the beauty of having money, it provides freedom.
So instead we have people who wouldn’t even take the money, because they’re scared of what might happen. They’re the same type of people who didn’t ask out the hot girl because risk makes them wet their pants. So instead of admitting that the uncertainty of a sudden windfall is what really scares them, they just assume all their friends and family will turn into greedy leeches, without realizing that if your friends were greedy leeches you would have figured it out by now.
And just about everybody says they’d donate at least a portion of their winnings to charity. Frankly, for the vast majority of people, that’s bunk. Most lottery winners don’t make more than token donations to non-profits. The reasons are simple really.
Firstly, people are inherently selfish creatures. That’s why so many of us pine to be wealthy. I fully intend to continue to amass wealth even once I have more than enough to spend. I want to make sure I have enough money to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Why would I donate large sums of money while I’m still young, when there’s still a chance I might lose that money somehow?
Secondly, if you really feel strongly about a charity, then you should be volunteering for them right now. Oh, your favorite non-profit doesn’t have volunteer opportunities? Find one that does. There’s plenty, and they’re just waiting for passionate people to volunteer. Trust me. Personally, I wouldn’t contribute a nickel to a charity that doesn’t utilize free help.
I despise unearned wealth. I’d much rather earn it. But, if given the opportunity, I think I could turn a winning lottery ticket into an empire. I’d be stupid not to. So please, for at least my sanity, don’t pretend you wouldn’t cash that winning ticket.