Don't Play the Lottery


It’s Monday. You’re back at work. You didn’t win Powerball.

I feel sorry for people who play the lottery. I know someone has to win it but it probably won’t be you.

That’s math.

The lottery is a stupid system that taxes the poor. State governments use those funds to supplement their education budgets. Instead of thinking about how we fix property tax laws to create a more equitable education system, we tempt poor people to spend $1/game to win a lump sum of cash.

It’s so dumb.

What’s worse is that winning the lottery will ruin your life.

  • You want to quit your job, but it turns out that you have nothing in your life except your job. After the initial vacation and big ticket purchases, you will feel a great sense of ennui.
  • Your family will be all over you like a rash. Parents. Siblings. Cousins. That guy who is sorta related to you and has a drug problem. They’ll all find a way to ask for cash.
  • Charities will hunt you down and make you feel guilty for having money. That Sarah McLaughlin video with the sad animals who are about to die? That will be your life. You’ll walk out of your front door and hear the words, “In the arms of an angel…”
  • It will seem like a good idea to buy a jet ski. If you learn one thing from Punk Rock HR, know that it’s never a good idea to buy a jet ski.
  • Money breeds obsession. Whenever you go to dinner, you will think about your money. You’ll get a Chinese foot massage and think about your cash. You will buy towels and think about your bank account. It’s crazy.

It’s okay to dream about a big windfall — and I like the idea of quitting a job and doing something more interesting — but I would recommend a more thoughtful investment strategy than Powerball, Mega Millions, or betting on the ponies.

Previous post:

Next post: