top of page

The experts are WRONG. Why you SHOULD play the lottery

Updated: Jan 4

Judgments from the ivory tower of what is right and what is wrong need to stop. Yes, we know what the odds are of winning the lottery. Powerball even puts the odds smack in the middle of their website.


Odds of winning the lottery

Compare these odds to

  • Getting trampled by an elephant: 1 in 54,979,155

  • Getting struck by lightning: 1 in 700,000

  • Odds of having quadruplets: 1 in 800,000

But the experts are wrong. There is one compelling reason that you should play the lottery.

Before you rush to judgment, I'm fully aware that spending 10% of your annual income on lottery tickets is not a wise financial choice. Yes, it's a tax on the poor. I also know that winning the lottery doesn't always make people happier, and some argue lottery winners end up worse off.

Here is the one compelling reason that you should play the lottery:

Research has found that playing the lottery, not scratch-offs but significant jackpots, increases momentary happiness.

The study's authors believe these results may be driven by the hope and expectations about financial gains, the thrill of a potential win, and social bonding when playing as a group.

For fellow wonky readers, this is referred to as procedural utility in the academic world. Procedural utility means that people not only value actual outcomes but also the conditions and processes that lead to these outcomes.



There are some important caveats.


  1. Do not buy more than one ticket. Buying more than one ticket is like buying a larger house to increase the odds of the home being struck by lightning.

  2. Gambling is not investing.

  3. It's a $2 ticket for entertainment. It makes for great conversation and the joy of dreaming, but only buy the ticket if you're willing to take the time to enjoy the temporary joy it creates.

Married couples can use a single lottery ticket to create a dinner conversation that does not center around the kids, bills, gossip, or complaining about work.


Play the lottery. Buy one ticket, and then take your partner out for a picnic. With the lottery ticket in hand, use the conversation prompts below to have a meaningful discussion.


  • If we won the Lotto, Would you keep your current job? If not, should we talk about a different career, even if we don't win the Lotto?

  • If we won the Lotto, what would be three things you would want to do with the money?

  • If we won the Lotto, how much would you want to give to charity, and which charities?

  • What does a day in our lives look like to you if we do win the Lotto?

  • If given a choice between spending $1 million on material items (furniture) or experiences (trips), how would you spend the money, and why?

  • If we won the Lotto, What single spending decision would have the most positive impact on your health or well-being?

  • Were your parents' spenders or savers? How does that influence what you want to do with our lotto winnings?

  • Where would you want to travel to first if we win the Lotto?


If you prefer, you can print these conversation prompts:

Money date conversation cards

Learn More


Couples who learn more, save more, and spend more on what is important to them.


For engaged and recently married couples who want to manage money and the home as a team.


Self paced online courses for couples designed by national financial therapy and financial planning experts


Winning ideas from experts to manage money and the home as a team. 2023 Plutus Award Finalist: Best Couples or Family Content

Winning ideas from experts to manage money and the home as a team. 2023 Plutus Award Finalist: Best Couples or Family Content


🔔 Click here to listen and subscribe to the Modern Husbands Podcast on Apple.

🔔 Click here to listen and subscribe to the Modern Husbands Podcast on Spotify.


A course for students ages 13-22 to learn research-backed homework hacks and independent learning strategies.


Winning ideas to manage money and the home as a team delivered to your inbox every two weeks. You'll even receive a few free gifts!

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page