The Powerball jackpot reached $500 million this week and my guess is you weren’t one of the three tickets that won. But that doesn’t mean that you should feel like your $2, $10, or even $20 was a complete waste of money. Playing the lotto can provide several tangible benefits.
1.) It Inspires Goal Setting: The benefit I enjoy the most from playing the lottery is planning what I would do with the winnings. That type of dreaming can play a vital roll in determining what’s important to you financially – paying off your student loans, buying a million dollar home, traveling the world. Those types of dreams may be a stretch. But if you take the time to figure out how much they actually cost, you might realize those goals are closer than you think. When Ben and I were budgeting out our soon-to-be millions, he mentioned staying in our current place. That makes me feel good about the choice that we made in our home purchase and the life we are living despite not being millionaires.
2.) You Spend Your Money: I’m a huge believer in finding balance with your money. Of course, you need to save for emergencies, put away all that you can for retirement, and make sure to pay off that high interest debt. But you also need to spend your money on experiences that will help you enjoy your life today. The last thing you want to do is regret not taking advantage of your time and experiences just to become a multimillionaire. In other words, don’t let life pass you by in the hopes of becoming independently wealthy. Money is a tool to help you enjoy those things that are truly important like your friends, family, and fun experiences.
3.) It Helps Create Community: It seems that everyone was playing the lotto when it got to $500 million. One of my coworkers, who is pretty particular with how he spends his money, even bought a ticket. Thirty-five people at Ben’s job pooled their money to try to increase their chances of winning. Having conversations with other people about winning and what they would do with the money could reveal a common interest or desire that you never knew you shared. We also had a fun time just figuring out how much each person would get to take home. (The lump sum amount of approximately $340 Million/divided by 35 *57.4% resulted in after-tax winnings over $5.5 million!)
Now, I’m not saying you should go spend all of your money on lotto tickets. The odds of winning are still stacked heavily against you. But you can receive real value by indulging every now and then and letting your $2 take you places you never thought possible.