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Mega Millions = A Sucker’s Game. Here’s A Better Idea

Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 | 4 Comments

We’re in the midst of a $600,000,000+ lottery frenzy.  It seems as if half of the activity on Facebook consists of people posting updates about buying tickets or uploading pictures of tickets already purchased.  I always thought the lottery was a peculiar form of gambling.  The odds are exceedingly remote, but the cost of entry is low.  As such, lots of people drop a few bucks for the chance of instant fortune.

Pretty much all of the people that play dream of what they would do with the money.  The plans almost always involve quitting their jobs and doing something like travel, taking on charity work, or some othter similar endeavor.  They get genuinely excited at the prospect of breaking out of their routine, and they see the lottery as they key.

So what’s wrong with this?

A tiny fraction of the population will actually win a lottery.  The rest of the lottery-players will go back to their hum-drum lives until the next big jackpot appears on the horizon.

Interestingly, few if any people actually realize a simple fact- you don’t have to hit the lottery to do pretty much anything most people dream of doing.

What are the things people dream of?  Living in a big house?  Driving a fancy car?  Unlimited travel?  Create a huge bankroll for their kids?  Run all the races they can handle (okay, that’s more of my dream)?  Some opt for the more altruistic dream of making a difference in the lives of others.

Contrary to popular belief, none of these things requires great wealth.  Let’s look at each dream and see how they can be “hacked.’

  • Living in the big house: Instead of taking on a huge mortgage and open yourself up to a fickle real estate market, how about going into the house sitting business?  There are tons of people that have a second home and occasionally need someone to take care of the residence.  Most arrangements involve rent-free living in spectacular houses in exchange for basic upkeep.
  • Driving a fancy car:  Instead of buying an expensive car, look into leasing.  It’s more or less a money pit, but it allows people to drive a car well out of their price range.
  • Unlimited travel: This one is easy- become a nomadic hobo like Shelly and I did.  Our income is about 30-40% of what it was before we hit the road, and we easily afford RV living.  Over the course of the nine months we’ve been on the road, we’ve traveled to over 30 states.
  • Create a huge bankroll: Most people assume investing and saving is the way to assure your kids ome degree of security.  Nonsense!  Instead, help them start a business at a young age.  They’ll earn their own money and learn entrepreneurial skills as they go.  And they won’t end up like Paris Hilton.
  • Run all the races you can handle: See “nomadic hobo” above.
  • Give back to the world: There are tons of charitable organizations that will exchange volunteer work for housing and other living expenses.  Think The Peace Corps, Doctors Without Borders,  and other such organizations.

Sure, each one of these ideas requires creativity and the ability to solve unique problems using unconventional methods, but I have a feeling my readers are just the type of people that can handle such task.  Stop waiting around for a chance lottery winning.  Make a list of things you’d do if you hit the lottery, then figure out a way to make each one happen without those millions.  And you wouldn’t have to deal with the negatives of winning a lottery.


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  1. Wiglaf
    March 31, 2012

    “If that quiz worked, there would be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars.” – Michael Bolton, Office Space

  2. briderdt
    March 30, 2012

    There was an interesting scene in the movie The Hunger Games (that wasn’t in the book) where President Snow is talking to the Gamemaker (paraphrasing here).

    Snow: Why do we have a winner? We could just round up 24 people from the districts and execute them… so why do we have a winner?

    Gamemaker: I don’t know.

    President: Hope. Just a glimmer of hope is a powerful thing. Not too much, but just enough.

    Interesting. Governments need more money. They could just take the money by passing a new tax. But people would complain. But by offering a little hope, people will line up to GIVE them the money.

    • Erik
      March 31, 2012

      But lotteries ARE taxes, on people who don’t understand math.

      • Matthew Jeschke
        March 31, 2012

        Yeah I always found that fascinating… First you pay into the tax to buy your ticket and IF you win, you pay in to taxes again lol

        SUCKERS lol the government is laughing all the way to the bank.