By JLP | February 26, 2010
NOTE: Thanks to reader, JT, for pointing this article out. Very cool topic.
First off, I found this quote from this article hard to believe:
The average American household snaps up about $500 annually in lottery tickets, whose appeal is especially strong among those with lower incomes. Some estimates suggest that more than 80 percent of lottery revenue comes from households making less than $50,000 a year — the very people who have the hardest time saving. In fact, 38 percent of people earning less than $25,000 a year think the lottery is the most practical way they’ll accumulate a few hundred thousand dollars in their lifetimes, according to the Consumer Federation of America.
The average American household spends $500 per year buying lottery tickets! That works out to $41.67 per month. That may not sound like much to some but it sounds like a lot to me—especially when you look at the opportunity cost of $41.67.
Check this out. Using my Excel spreadsheets with S&P 500 Index total returns, I ran a few calculations. Here is how much a person could potentially have if they directed their lottery spending to their retirement plan:
Of course this is no different from any other spending we may do on frivolous things. However, the lottery to me is bad because of the odds of winning. A person who plays the lottery is almost destined to lose.
Anyway, believe it or not, that’s not the point of this post. What I wanted to point out was how some credit unions came together and formed a “savings lottery” in order to encourage people to save money. According to the artice, for every $25 a person deposits into their account, they receive one entry into a drawing for $100,000 held a year later. The article also mentions other prizes were given away on a monthly basis.
Personally, I like this idea. It’s promoting a good idea: thrift. We need more thrift in this country.
What do you think? Do you like this idea?