Ye Olde Swimming Hole

current, insightful, yet nostalgic

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Will They Live Happily Ever After?

The Nebraska lottery winner has been found, and there are eight of them. The eight bought a ticket together and will each get $15.5 million after taxes. The governor showed up to present them with their checks and it was painted as if they will all now live happily ever after. A few of the quotes are telling.

One man said his three-month-old daughter "is going to be happy for the rest of her life." I hope she is, but if that happens, it won't be because of the money. This is what lawmakers who are proponents of the lottery want people to believe: if you win, all your troubles will go away. For those who have never learned to manage their wants, their troubles are only beginning.

Three of the winners are immigrants. Nothing like living out the American dream.

I hope they all use their money wisely, but the very fact that they were playing the lottery shows they may have some troubles with money management and expectations. While money from the lottery may fund some of our current programs, it is taking money from those who could be depositing it in retirement accounts to take care of their future needs. We will certainly pay for that later. It would be interesting to see a study on how much lottery players spend on tickets and what that money could do for their retirement fund. If their $117 million payout were invested in the stock market at an annual 10% return for 25 years, it would be worth $1.2 billion dollars. Imagine how many retirements that could fund. But instead of focusing on the well being of society and created a society where hard honest work is valued, we make a few filthy rich and worry and the rest later. This is about all of us and the future good of our society.

The most troubling aspect of this story is not the winners (who seem like a good group of people), but the expectations their winning is putting into the minds of millions of other Americans who now think they have a good chance of winning the lottery.


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