Why 1 Powerball ticket is enough
You have to be in it to win it. But you don't have to be in it twice.
This post comes from Chuck Jaffe at partner site MarketWatch.
With the Powerball jackpot at record levels this week -- $550 million as of midday today -- there's a rush to get tickets for a chance to become an instant centi-millionaire. And with all that hoopla comes chronic waste. Chief among it: the purchase of "extra" lottery tickets by many consumers looking to increase their odds of winning.
It's not that the lottery has no benefit for the gazillions of losers who, statistically speaking, are in it so someone else can win it, and win it bigger than ever. There's some good that comes from playing what-if games, from doing something that gives hope and generates excitement in the middle of our mundane routines.
But it's important not to lose sight of the basic fact that the lottery is a loser's bet, and that the time spent asking "What would I do if I won the lottery?" should not undermine the more important, seldom asked question: "What should I do if I never win the lottery?"
For most people -- especially those who play only when jackpots are ginormous -- the lottery is a wishing well, a place where they throw money in the pool and hope for life-changing good fortune. If you're giving up a movie or a latte to buy a few extra Powerball slips, it's a transfer of one discretionary expense for another. The problem comes, however, when you pour money into the lottery pool at the expense of improving your life in other ways.
Consider just how bad the Powerball odds of 175 million-to-1 really are.
Think of a national drawing where, at the next State of the Union address, the president is going to randomly say the name of one American woman. With roughly 159 million American women, according to the last census estimates, there's a better chance that someone you know gets the presidential mention. Buying dozens -- even hundreds -- of tickets won't swing those kinds of odds in your favor. (Bought 10 tickets? Each has roughly a 0.000000005714 chance of winning.)
And as for excitement of being in the game, or the social benefits of participating in the office pool, many studies have shown that after you buy the first ticket, there are diminishing emotional returns. Increase your lottery purchase from a $2 ticket to a sawbuck and you don't get five times the rush of playing simply because you bought five tickets instead of one.
The buzz of the dream may last a little longer -- as you have more tickets to confirm as losers -- but the extra dollars did not buy you the same kind of goodwill and hope that you got from just the first ticket purchased.
So, go ahead: Play the game. But don't feed the ticket-buying frenzy when you'd clearly be better off feeding your piggy bank.
More on MarketWatch and MSN Money:
- Student loan delinquencies hit new high
- Fiscal cliff: The case for doing nothing
- 10 things the SEC won't tell you
- Can you guarantee a Powerball win?
- Smart Spending on the go: Get our app for Android or iPhone
- How to spend a $500M Powerball jackpot
Yup. . . one ticket is enough....in thoery
One winner is enough....but the more the merrier......
Invest in Wall Street and lose it all.......
.Put it in the bank....watch it disappear -
Duh....What Happened ??? i Don't Know Nothing...."the Jon Corzine defense???"
not me - must have been someone else - I'm innocent your honor.......
C H A R I T Y - B E G I N S - A T - H O M E - put it in my pocket - I'll take good care of it
Yes before purchasing ticket(s) one should consider what other deal(s) worth $550M they currently have as work in process.
If it were fixed these random morons wouldn't be winning I can guarantee that!
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Are you being stalked behind the wheel? Here's how to tell and what you can do about it.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'