Which is Worth More a Lottery Ticket or an Apple?

Today the mega millions jackpot is up to $540 million, so I decided to pick up a ticket.  I also bought a bag of apples at the same time.   Given the phenomenally bad changes of winning (1 in 175,711,536) even one of those apples is almost certainly worth more than that lottery ticket.    I’m basically throwing away a dollar, why did I do something so irrational?

 Because is exciting to dream about winning an enormous jackpot, and know I could potentially win… However at the same time I know dreams aren’t a viable plan for the future.   The last time I played the lottery was in college when I bought a ticket for a jackpot of around a hundred million.  I didn’t win that one so that makes $2 over twenty years.  In contrast last month I invested about $2000 in stocks, bonds, real estate (via a REIT).  I think that is a reasonable ratio.   I dream a bit but invest a lot so that eventually I’ll build my own millions even if I’m not lucky enough to win millions.

 

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