Fool.com: The Fribble, How I Plan to "Win the Lottery", by Carol Guest

Fribble

How I Plan to "Win the Lottery"

By Carol Guest (Carol.Guest@spg.org)
April 06, 1998

"When I win the lottery..." How many times have you heard people use that phrase, or said it yourself? I used to play the lottery regularly. Week-in, week-out, I shelled out my hard-earned bucks for tickets. But I never "won the lottery." Oh yes, occasionally the game would toss a few dollars back at me, just to keep me interested, but over the long-term I ended up "losing the lottery." One year I even kept track of my lotto bets (I was testing a "system") and at the end of the year I found that my "winnings" had amounted to about one-third of what I had spent on tickets. I don't have the statistics to back it up, but my gut feeling is that I was exceptionally "lucky" that year to have the lotto folks take "only" two-thirds of my money.

"But, hey, its harmless entertainment!" some will say. I disagree. Playing the lottery encourages pie-in-the-sky thinking. Because you could win, no matter how long the odds, lottery players tend to dream rather than do. "When I win the lottery..." I used to say, "I'll pay off my debts. I'll put money aside for the future. When I win the lottery..." And, while I was dreaming of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, savings and investment opportunities were passing me by. I recently heard the results of a poll which asked people how they were planning to fund their retirement. One stunning result was that 15% of respondents actually mentioned winning the lottery as part of their "plan"! Is that scary, or what?

So why did I discard my non-winning ways? Well, I started visiting The Fool and learning about investing my money. Not having any savings to invest, I was especially interested when the Fools started the DRiP Portfolio. But where to find the money to drip? I reviewed my budget and found that the only option was to stop buying lotto tickets. That was a no-brainer! Now I invest that money on a monthly basis in the great companies of the DRiP Portfolio.

Sure, I'm never going to wake up one morning and find myself suddenly rich. But now I know that, instead of ending up much poorer, I will end up much richer in the long run. Slowly, but very surely. "Win the lotto"? No thanks! Now that I've finally got an investment plan, the odds are working in my favor!