The biggest Powerball jackpot in history was won on October 24, 2018, to the tune of $1.5 billion. Some lucky, hitherto unidentified, South Carolinian’s life is about to change forever. This may seem like a ridiculous question, considering the circumstance, but will that change actually be for the better.

You may be surprised to hear that history suggests otherwise. It raises a very important question: Is playing the lottery even worth it?

What Is a Lottery?

The quick and dirty explanation is that people pay to pick numbers. If the numbers hit, they get all the money that everyone paid (less taxes and other terms and conditions). The longer it goes without anyone selecting the right numbers, the more numbers people buy and the higher the jackpot gets.

Who Plays the Lottery?

A whole lot of people play the lottery. That’s why the odds are so astronomically out of your favor. That said, people who already feel financially well-off are much less likely to play. This is one of the reasons many of the winners have money management issues. They go from not having very much, to having more than they know what to do with.

Of those that do play, most of them don’t expect to win. In fact, buying lottery tickets can become something of a habit. Some people even go as far to view it as a de facto tax on the poor.

Struggles of the Winners

One would think winning the lottery would solve all their problems. This rarely ends up being the case. Some of the most successful lottery winners continued their lives as if they hadn’t won at all, putting their money in investments, paying off debts, or creating a rock-solid retirement portfolio.

As previously stated; a lot of the people who win act in a more celebratory fashion. They buy things they could have never bought before and flaunt their new lifestyle out of excitement.

Unfortunately, this typically doesn’t end well. Family, friends, and even strangers can feel entitled to their winnings just because of their proximity to them. Many lottery winners are robbed, scammed, or extorted, usually by people they know.

This is made all the worse by the fact that lottery winners are usually publicized. Everyone knows they won and they lose all anonymity. Fortunately, some local governments are realizing that this is a dangerous practice and have proposed legislation that would all lottery winners to stay anonymous for their own safety.

Then there’s the problem of blowing through the money. Despite how fun it is, it eventually runs out. If the things you buy appreciate in value, then this isn’t the worst thing in the world. If they don’t, then I hope you really like them, because they’ll be al you have.

Other Things You Can Do with Lottery Ticket Money

Depending on the State you live in, the average person spends as much as $700+ a year on lottery tickets. Over the course of a year, this is not necessarily an earthshattering amount of money. However, the fact that you are almost certainly never going to see a return on the investment, why not put it somewhere more useful.

$700 in one year becomes $7,000 in ten years, $14,000 in twenty. Even if you just put the price of a lottery ticket in your bank account however often you buy them, you find yourself at a net positive. On the other hand, there are tons of low-cost investment sites growing in popularity. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s better than 302.5 million to 1 odds you have with a mega super jackpot.