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Old 12-09-2011, 04:45 PM   #21
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The probabilities of winning the lottery are so small that playing makes no sense to me. Having said that, I'll admit to buying one ticket each time the winnings exceed $200M when I get around to it. I've thought about "what if" and have concluded that winning would be equivalent to going back to work again. With say $100M parked in account it automatically requires me to "manage" that money. I really don't think I would change much of what I do now, so I would be force to become a philanthropist of some sort. And that seems like a job to me.

I still think the story of the three wealth manager winners doesn't hang together to me. Besides no smiles, why would three guys buy only one ticket? Did each one put $0.33333 in the pot to buy a single ticket? And if only one played the ticket, why did he feel compelled to share it with the other two? When something doesn't make sense, then there is more to the story than you know.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:14 PM   #22
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Maybe they pooled multiple tickets? I've heard of lottery clubs where everyone pools $1 or $5 or whatever equal amount and if any tickets win, they share equally.

I think I'd rather win $10M or $20M than $100M. Seems like less money would mean fewer people coming after me. But maybe any winner gets bombarded. I've never played, except for a couple weeks ago when my niece had a mildly Vegas themed wedding reception after coming back from a Vegas wedding. They had scratchers at every table and all 7 spots came up $2 winners. Thought maybe that combo might be some bigger prize. I was leaving town right after the reception so I gave it to her and said we were splitting it if it was over $500, It was only $14 so it's hers.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:27 AM   #23
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As for comments about how dumb it is to play the lottery, I'll confess I play regularly and am not ashamed to admit it.
Well, that makes two of us. Most months we'll pony up $2 for one state lottery ticket and one regional ticket. We're well aware of the odds.

What we're buying is a month's worth of daydreams. Pretty cheap entertainment.

Reminds me of the old joke of the guy who prays to God to win the lottery and after listening to a long list of his troubles God says "Okay Fred, you will win the lottery."

The next week Fred didn't win the lottery. He prays again and God again promises "Fred, you will win the lottery." This repeats for several weeks.

Finally when Fred again reminds God of his promise that he will win the lottery, God says "Fred, you gotta work with me on this. Buy a ticket."
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:18 AM   #24
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Maybe they pooled multiple tickets?
Maybe. But what I heard was that they said they only bought ONE ticket! hum
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Old 12-10-2011, 01:29 PM   #25
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Interesting discussion. I would never criticize anyone for playing the lottery - if they can afford to lose. I would only call it "dumb" if you thought it was more than entertainment - with the extremely thin chance of becoming an instant millionaire. Never played, but when I was feeling low at w*rk, I often considered buying one (1) ticket to stick in my desk. For the $1.00 entry fee, I could have fantasized for a week about winning enough money to escape. That would have been well worth it and the only way I would have ever played. Folks who buy multiple tickets do stand a statistically greater chance of winning, but it is still an extremely small chance. For this reason, multiple tickets never made sense to me. One ticket is all you need to fantasize. Any more than that and you are truly playing a loser's game (IMO). Still, if it weren't for those playing large numbers of tickets, the lottery would not work. The pots would not build up to the multi-multi millions as they do when many people buy 10's to 100's of tickets.

Without getting too political (I hope) the lottery is (arguably) the only tax that some folks pay. That at least gives them a little skin in the game. Personally, I don't favor lotteries as money makers for gummints, but, since they exist, they are fair game for discussion as FIRE vehicles or FIRE activities. Hope someone here wins a big pot. Love to hear how it affects your FIRE plans. I'll fantasize along with everyone else about that possibility. Good luck and, YMMV.
Good post, Koolau.

As others have pointed out, buying lottery tickets through pools such as the ones at my old office boosts the miniscule chance of winning into something a miniscule more than miniscule. Over the last 25 years, I spent maybe $20 on lottery tickets, either through those pools or the rare ones I bought myself when the lottery grew to an unusually large amount (just for the thrill of being in it, nothing more).

But anyone who spends a lot of money each week on the lottery or somehow makes winning it part of some half-assed "retirement" plan is nuts.

I considered cashing out my company stock 3 years ago my own personal "lottery" winning. It was basically "found" money which I spent nothing to win it other than working at the company for 23 years (only the last 12 were when the ESOP was around). This was a $300k payout before taxes and I am now living off its dividends after I invested it wisely (see my signature line).
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:40 PM   #26
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Maybe. But what I heard was that they said they only bought ONE ticket! hum
I dunno. Maybe they each kick $20 and buy one ticket every week.

Or maybe they knew they'd win and one was all they needed?
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:46 PM   #27
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I always buy into the office lottery pool (which is usually only for the larger pots). My reason is just this: it would REALLY suck if my whole team won and I was the lone holdout. I'm not willing to risk this despite the miniscule odds.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:50 PM   #28
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Well, that makes two of us. Most months we'll pony up $2 for one state lottery ticket and one regional ticket. We're well aware of the odds.

What we're buying is a month's worth of daydreams. Pretty cheap entertainment.
I can understand the month's worth of day dream and for a buck or two it is cheap entertainment. Unfortunately as we all know the lottery is sadly viewed as retirement saving by many.

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Even as unemployment remained high and the economy dragged, players in many states responded. Of the 43 states with lotteries, 26 saw revenue grow in traditional games in the last fiscal year, with total sales up 3 percent to $56 billion, according to La Fleur’s. Ticket sales in at least 17 of those states set records, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and several states are on track to hit all-time highs this year.

...

Kate Sweeny, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, who studies how people respond to difficult life events, said after a few years in a down economy, some people feel no control over their financial futures -- so they might turn their hope to the lottery.
“What you are buying is maybe a chance to have financial relief at a time where finances aren’t at their best for a lot of people,” Sweeny said.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:35 AM   #29
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I used to dream about winning the lottery, but then when I retired from active duty I realized that I'd won.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:00 AM   #30
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We have some family members who have bought the same sets of numbers (five different tickets, I think) every week since the lottery in their area started. They just hate doing it now and wish they'd never started , but they're afraid to stop playing because they just know that's when their numbers would hit. Intellectually they know the odds are the same every week, but still....
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:45 PM   #31
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Woo Hoo! I just won the UK NATIONAL LOTTERY Online Sweepstakes International programmer (sic). The prize is £516,778, and all I have to do is contact the claims agent, supply lots of personal information, and arrange to pay the taxes!

Oddly enough, the UK Lottery sent me the announcement from a German domain. ;-)
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:56 PM   #32
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Woo Hoo! I just won the UK NATIONAL LOTTERY Online Sweepstakes International programmer (sic). The prize is £516,778, and all I have to do is contact the claims agent, supply lots of personal information, and arrange to pay the taxes!

Oddly enough, the UK Lottery sent me the announcement from a German domain. ;-)
For just $100,000, I can handle all the paperwork for you
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:30 PM   #33
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We have some family members who have bought the same sets of numbers (five different tickets, I think) every week since the lottery in their area started. They just hate doing it now and wish they'd never started , but they're afraid to stop playing because they just know that's when their numbers would hit. Intellectually they know the odds are the same every week, but still....
I guess the trick would be to stop playing - and then don't LOOK at the winning numbers!!
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:22 PM   #34
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The $1 entry is not that improbable. A friend and I have a syndicate, we take it month about to buy tixs, which means we are only playing $1 at a time.

When I buy my tixs I really don't put any further thought into it. Occasionally when I can't sleep at night I mentally make a list of who I would give money to if my ship did come in. Usually that helps me fall asleep.
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