Our cousin, aunt and uncle are a loyal patrons of the Taiwan lottery. (Or at least my cousin was until a recent tarot reading convinced her to cut back on the lottery purchases.) But when she first arrived in April, she purchased 2 or 3 California Mega Millions lottery tickets and convinced me to do so … once.
Because for just $1, you get a chance at $45,000,000, and then the next week it becomes $85,000,000, and the week after that … OK, so it’s obvious that the chances are minuter than minute, but there’s always the “what if?” What if your next ticket was the winner? What if for $1, you could have been a millionaire?
But turn that around, and what if for want of $1, your finances go haywire. Alright, the chances of that are also minute, but it brings to mind the old proverb:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
(For those who aren’t familiar with horses, most domesticated horses have very soft feet. They seem hard, but the outside is actually not much different from a human fingernail and the inside and underside are soft. Horseshoes protect a horse’s feet from cracking and bruising by rocks and pebbles. They are nailed onto a horse’s hooves with special horseshoe nails, and if a horseshoe falls off, the horse’s hoof could be injured, causing it to limp, resulting in further injury to the leg. When a horse’s leg is injured, it can trip or fall and a rider could be thrown, which can result in serious injury and sometimes death.)
Furthermore, what about the potential of that $1 a couple of times a month (or 8 times a month if you buy twice a week) to become a significant and almost sure amount of money over time? As Madoline likes to say:
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
So logically, lottery tickets are a waste of money. But since both chance and risk are small, but potential is big, maybe a good compromise could be to purchase a ticket occasionally as long as it doesn’t become a habit, and as long as you fully appreciate the significance of the purchase decision?
What do you think? Do you buy lottery tickets? Are they a complete waste of money? Or worth the chance at millionairehood? Or something fun that’s OK every once in a while as long as it doesn’t become a regular habit?