Winning the Lottery and Living Large….

I don’t know what to make of this article regarding what Americans believe about the lottery. Does it mean Americans are very optimistic – afterall what could be more optimistic than 20% the population thinking they have a chance of winning something with a probability in the millions! Or, it could mean Americans have given up trying to build wealth through hard work, perseverance and dedication and are now resigned to their fates – hence a deflated view that maybe winning the lottery is the only way out.

I think it is the latter is more true. It is stunningly obvious that Americans are not saving as much as they should and with a woefully unprepared baby boom generation headed into retirement you have to wonder how this society is going to keep its living standards at current levels. Political gridlock seems to prevent sensible ideas from emerging and an overtly passive attitude from the general public isn’t generating any urgency either.

Here is the article I am talking about:

Hey, you! You won’t win the lottery!

Do you play the lottery regularly? If so, do you really expect to win?About one out of five Americans believe that winning the lottery is the most practical way of attaining personal wealth, according to a survey released Monday by the Financial Planning Association and the Consumer Federation of America. Among Americans with salaries of $25,000 or less, 38 percent believe the lottery is the way to go. CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck says he’s concerned.

“Nearly 16 percent said that winning the lottery was a very important wealth-building strategy for all Americans,” he says. “It appears that these Americans both greatly overestimate their chances of hitting a lottery jackpot and greatly underestimate their ability to build six-figure wealth by patiently making regular savings contributions over time that benefit from interest compounding.”

Most people know that the odds of winning the lottery are ridiculously remote — approximately one in a gazillion (technically speaking, they’re only hypergeometrically remote, according to the Minnesota State Lottery’s explanation of the math).

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