Money Talks: Lottery for Retirement

You can't win if you don't play: a common refrain among those who play the lottery.

There's only one problem with that logic.

Odds are you can't win if you do play.

Depending on the lottery, odds of winning a single state lottery are around 18 million to one.

Odds of winning multiple state lotteries range up to 120 million to one.

To put that in perspective, your odds of being dealt a royal flush with the first five cards dealt is only 649,740 to 1.

You should be able to do this 200 times for every time you win a multi-state lottery.

Your odds of bowling a 300 game?

Only 11,500 to one.

You'd do it 10,000 times before you'd win a lottery.

And the overall odds of you writing a New York Times bestseller are only 220 to one: 500,000 times more likely.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with a little entertainment, and that's something the lottery affords, as long as you can afford the lottery.

But a 2005 study by the Consumer Federation of America said 38 percent of people with incomes below $25,000 think that winning the lottery represents the most practical way for them to accumulate several hundred thousand dollars.


Nest eggs come from saving, not scratching.

Start saving 5 bucks a day, or $150 month, when you turn 21.

Earn 9% on it, and 35 years later when you're about my age, you'll have more than $450,000.

So play if you must, but save if you can every day.