Lottery & Immigrants

I don’t remember any immigrant in the recent history who made money playing lottery. But still It’s always fascinating to see the television coverage of someone winning the lottery. Some guy who was pushing a mop for a living yesterday is suddenly on the news being handed an oversized check for some ungodly amount of money while we all look on and think to ourselves “that could be me.”

Guess what? It’s not going to be you. Statistically speaking, anyway. We’ve all heard that a person has a better chance of being struck by lightning than he does of picking those six winning numbers, and it’s true. Yet people buy lottery tickets every week, sometimes by the hundreds.

I had a conversation with my neighbor, Phil the plumber about it just last week. I was watering my lawn when I saw him come bustling out of his house and heading for his SUV.

“Where ya headed, Phil?” I asked, not really caring much but being friendly.

“Gotta get my lottery tickets,” he called back, “It’s up to fifty-five million tonight. Want me to pick some up for you?”

“I don’t play the lottery, Phil.” I don’t. I’d love to have someone hand me a check with a lot of zeros at the end of a big number as much as anyone would, but I don’t like to throw my money away.

“You can’t win if you don’t play,” Phil retorted as he got into his monstrous, gas guzzling vehicle.

He was right, of course. I’ll never win the lottery. I’ll also never lose anything on it. Phil buys about fifty dollars in lottery tickets every week. Fifty bucks! It wouldn’t bother me so much if we weren’t talking about the same guy who told me that he wouldn’t buy stocks because the stock market is “too risky.” I’d find that funny if it weren’t such a sad reflection on the American public in general. If you ask the average person what they know about the stock market, they’ll probably tell you that they know you can make money there, but that it’s very risky. And they’ll tell you that while waiting in line to buy lottery tickets.

You want to know how to win the lottery? Don’t play it. Take every dollar that you would spend on lottery tickets and put it in a jar. At the end of the year, count the money in the jar. You are now closer to the fifty million dollar jackpot than the tickets would have ever brought you. Now go and invest it.

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