Just thinking… about winning!

My Post yesterday resulted in all sorts of thoughts in the broad context of winning a lot of money!

It never ceases to amaze me how many people, who are on controlled budgets, give buying lottery tickets every week a high priority. The rationale generally falls into some distinct groups.

There are those who feel that, regardless of prior results, they think that this week will be their turn for the big win! There are those who simply buy tickets because “if you don’t play, you can’t win”!

What they all seem to have in common is the desire to win a large sum of money, and how happy they believe it would make them. Of course the whole lottery “advertising machine” encourages such thinking when, without exception (in my experience), all advertising focuses on self indulgent spending.

I find the whole gambling scene interesting (and buying lottery tickets is clearly gambling), because so many people are thinking nothing of spending $20-25 a week on lottery tickets. However, most of them would admit to a degree of excitement if they were given $1000.00.  For some reason, the rationale  does not holdup when you suggest that they stop buying tickets, saved the money, and give themselves $1000.00 once a year!

It would appear therefore that while a $1000.00 gift would be nice, it is the $multi-million prizes that are the attraction. Again, I have to question the logic because there are so many examples of people forced into bankruptcy after a big win, simply because they over spend with no concept about their resulting obligations. Moving into a multi-million dollar home dictates very high taxes and utilities plus the general upkeep of such properties! An ocean going yacht is not a low maintenance item! Buying everybody a Rolls Royce car may well not be appreciated at vehicle service time.

Then there are those who have won multi-millions, and have decided to take a vacation while they decide what to do with it. Very often, it is decided to treat family and friends to small (relative to the win) value items such as pay off mortgages or buy cars. I am no accountant, but it is apparently very likely that a $multi-million win will be gaining more interest over a year, than is being spent! People can literally have “more money than they know what do with”. Given all the new friends that they will undoubtedly have, and all the charities that will be in constant touch with them, it is highly unlikely that this will be a carefree and happy period in their life!

It seems to me that the ideal person to win a $multi-million lottery, is someone with a good basic knowledge of accounting and investments; someone with business experience, and someone with a philanthropic perspective. As far as I can deduce, that person has a slight chance of being happy as a result of a big win but then, would that person actually buy lottery tickets?

Food for thought.

22 thoughts on “Just thinking… about winning!

  1. All are the same thoughts my husband and I have discussed many times. We often tell our friends and family members to save the money they spend on lottery tickets to put aside as savings, but they are attracted by the “high prize”. Unfortunately, they are people who are barely making ends meet every day:(

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    • That does seem to be the way things generally go…. those who can least afford it…do it. They’re just chasing a dream! So many people seem to have their lives on hold until the “big one” comes along. Sadly, the odds are in favor of the “big one” never coming along. I just hope that they never reflect back on their lives when get into their later years!

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  2. Our first win on the UK’s national lottery was £10 the weekend my father died (1996). Our second win, another £10, was the weekend my father in law died (2004). We stopped doing it for years, then started with the Euromillions. The ticcket wa more expensive, but our return better as we won a couple of quid practically eery time we played. Camelot put the Nattional Loittery up to £2 from a pound, and have since added more numbers up to 59. This has more that quadrupled the odds of winning. Pah. I’ll keep my pennies thank you. Pity more people didn’t think like us, then the fat cats wouldn’t be raking in the dosh for doing B…….. all.

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  3. I always hope that the underdog will prevail when these jackpots become mammoth (like January’s billion dollar purse); you know, the single mother with 4 hungry kids who just lost her job, on the verge of becoming bankrupt, having her car repossessed and losing the roof that provides shelter and safety. Or, the group of workers that pooled their monies at the local factory and picked numbers as a team, who have always lived on a thread, but can now finally have some breathing room. It’s been a rare occasion that I’ve thought of what I would do if I won the lottery (and even rarer that I play, like once a year maybe) and I always come to the same conclusion, I would just give back, very quietly and without any hoopla. Because isn’t that what it should be about anyway?

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    • I have always believed that, rather than a (e.g.) $1Billion prize, they should offer the equivalent in $100,000.00 prizes. There would be a much greater chance of winning, and most people could relate to the pros/cons of $100,000.00. i.e. your single mother would know what options she had with $100,000.00. She would probably have no context to plan on spending $1Billion because, without some strategic thinking, one cannot simply “spend” $1Billion. I broached the concept once of offering many lower value prizes instead of the one big one, and was told that research indicated that one big prize generates more interest! A sad state of our culture from my perspective.

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      • Agreed! As much as I appreciate social media, it’s the same avenue that has created this skewed need for instant gratification, the “I have to have it now” epidemic that has gotten so many people in trouble financially, living way beyond their means in an effort to “keep up” with that invisible entity that brainwashes so many in to believing that their self-worth is determined by the amount of money things cost… bums me out 😦

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        • We are in a free enterprise business driven society. Sadly so many people are oblivious to the fact that business are profit driven and must sell to survive. If there is no market for their product, then they must create the market by convincing us that we need whatever it is! We can always say no…. but too many people don’t!

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  4. We usually buy a $2 ticket each week although sometimes we forget. It’s worth the daydreams. Of course if I win, I would do a huge makeover of our local animal shelter. Cats should not be in cages and dog pens should be attractive and friendly for the dog. I don’t need much stuff anymore but the freedom from worry and the ability to pay off some (but not all — no one is giving up their jobs!) bills for family would be a big asset. My money would end up in a trust governed by a trusted team (and not all family either). I agree with you about the $$ people spend. I was in back of someone who bought $600 worth of tickets for the last big Powerball. I sure hope that was for a large group because no one should spend that kind of money. BTW can’t stand casinos so I’m not a real gambler. On a small scale lotteries are little affordable fantasies.

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    • Hi Kate. I understand your position but, although you have lots of wonderful plans for if you win, I am sure you know that the chances of you winning are infinitely small! Your chances of experiencing any number of unfortunate events is much greater. Your $2.00 each week (say $100.00 each year) would be a significant contribution to feeding a cat in your local shelter. Just thinking!

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  5. I often shook my head when I heard how fast some got rid of their wins. I agree with your theory of who might be the ideal winner. But right, these might not be the ones who buy a ticket. Interesting thoughts, Colin!

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    • I too do a lot of head shaking at those times! It is sad that they cannot see what a golden opportunity they have to make a difference, but they think no further than themselves. I have written to our Ontario Lottery & Gaming Commission and suggested that their lottery advertising should perhaps present philanthropic options to be considered. People may not have thought that they could finance a hospital wing, or a new MRI machine, or an overseas project in a 3rd world country, or an extension to their local animal rescue operation etc. etc. The response I got was very clear. Their goal is simply to sell lottery tickets and spending $$$$ on philanthropic advertising was not considered effective use of their funds!

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