Wired ran a story about a man who cracked the scratch-off lottery algorithm. It turns out it wasn’t as hard as some believed. The article featured this little gem…
In a 2006 survey, 30 percent of people without a high school degree said that playing the lottery was a wealth-building strategy.
Holy cow! That’s not a good sign. Of course if they spent a couple of minutes with the Incredibly Depressing Mega Millions Lottery Simulator they might be singing a different tune. If they took the money that they would have spent on lottery tickets and instead invested it in something like the stock market, they would end up with something more substantial.
Imagine again that you are age thirty and you plan to retire at age 65. If you save the $156 you spend on lotto tickets annually and place that money in an investment that tracks the S&P 500 index, which has produced an annual rate of return of 10.4% over the last 80 years, at the end of each year for 35 years, you will have approximately $46,000 at the end of that time period.
That’s something you can really take to the bank.