Lottery and Cigarettes

Lottery and Cigarettes

I’m amazed every time I go into the convenience store for milk how much people spend on lottery tickets and cigarettes. In Massachusetts, a pack of cigarettes is somewhere around $9 and people are smoking a pack a day. (Or more by the smell of some of the people I encounter in those stores. Back in the day, my dad was a multi-pack-a-day smoker so I know what it smells like.)

Then there’s the lottery tickets that they buy in bunches. While some scratch tickets are $1, they can run over $10 each. And to hear people talk about them is mind-boggling.

“Roy, which one did you buy last time when you got $50?”

“The third row, second from the left.”

“I’ll take that one. It’s lucky.”

Lucky? Talk about inability to calculate odds or do simple math. People, the deck is stacked against you. You’re wasting your money. You will spend more than you win. When I drop a dollar for fun every six months, it’s a dollar I can stand to lose. But $10 or $20 per day. (I’ve seen people who spend more! About 25 years ago I worked with a guy who we would charitably call “slow” today, who spent upwards of $100 per day on lottery tickets.)

Imagine if those people just put the same lottery and cigarette money in an IRA or even in an interest-bearing CD or money market account. Anything! After a while, they really would hit the lottery, but with money they earned and with much betters odds of success.

Image Credit

  • lotterytickets: LeHigh Valley Express-Times | Copyright by owner. Used under Fair Use doctrine
Written by
Domenico Bettinelli