Mary’s Musings

You didn’t win either?

Posted:  Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 8:30am

We didn’t have the winning numbers in the Mega Millions, Powerball, or Tri State lotteries this past weekend, which is quite understandable:We didn’t buy any tickets.Lotteries wouldn’t fare too well if there were too many folks like us.

Frankly, we don’t especially like the odds. When we do decide to pick up a ticket on occasion, we usually have no idea how much is in the jackpot. We couldn’t help but know how much was at stake in the two large lotteries last weekend, Mega Millions –$450 million, and Powerball – $570 million, because television was repeatedly reminding us that over one billion dollars was up for grabs. A single Florida ticket-holder walked away with the Mega Millions jackpot, while a single New Hampshire ticket holder is the lucky Powerball winner.

These large jackpots create a buying frenzy. After all, who doesn’t like to dream? Maybe it’s our small-town background, but we usually don’t have such high aspirations. We’d be perfectly happy to wake up some morning and find we’d won a mere $50,000; in fact, even an unexpected $25 windfall would be wonderful.

While we know it will never happen, we’ve often wondered if ticket sales would plummet if a major lottery announced that one thousand possible prizes were being offered, or even a few hundred.A single winner waking up to find they’ve won $570 million or $450 million (before taxes) is mind-boggling. It’s always interesting to see who won, and the good news is that it’s often a hard-working individual and not someone who is already a multi-millionaire.

Closer to home, our own Tri State Megabucks was valued at $4.63 million the middle of this week - a pittance by comparison, but more than enough to enable most of us to afford our weekly groceries and fuel, don’t you think? We wish Publisher’s Clearinghouse’s major prize of $5,000 a week for life was five prizes of $1,000 a week, or ten prizes of $500 a week to make even more people happy.

Records show that the average American spends $200 a year on lottery tickets, much higher in some states like neighboring Massachusetts. What’s really sad is that many folks spend far more than they can afford each week on tickets, utilizing money they need for housing, car payments, and food and other essentials.  

In our case, we’ll continue to live in the real world, along with the millions of others who would like to have an added nest egg, but don’t put too much stock in getting rich quick. We’ll continue to grab a lottery ticket now and then, but thoughts of winning aren’t apt to keep us awake at night.