Last week while cruising Facebook I noticed a bunch of posts claiming to share Lotto winnings if there was a winner among the “sharers” I guess that’s how it was supposed to work. These posts were my first clue that something was up. Well what was up was the Lotto prize total. I didn’t pay too close attention to them other than to note that they were everywhere. That was something new, I think, at least I hadn’t seen it before. It caused a smile because it’s the same thing as all the other mania’s that turn up when there’s a chance to strike it rich. I saw posts from people who claim that money means nothing to them and from those who have even been critical of the rich. My question is “Then why are you trying to become one? A Lotto prize is easily justified, there’s nothing to risk (other than a couple of dollars) so there is no consequence to losing. Of course the odds of winning are completely astronomical, so, I can’t believe that anyone actually believes they have any chance of winning other than, well someone will sooner or later and maybe it will be me!
I believe that no matter how big of a stand one takes against being wealthy, deep down there is a point in everyone when the payout gets big enough that all of that goes out the window and whether you buy a ticket or try to share someone elses ticket, the mania has overtaken the stand. It doesn’t just apply to Lotto either. I live in a town where there was a push to get a casino started. Casino Mania swept the town and people paid incredible prices for things that would only become worth it if the casino got approved. It didn’t and speculators ended up owning big, expensive white elephants. It’s the mania caused when it seems there is a fortune to be made, and few are immune to it.
The difference between the Lotto mania and the casino mania is the level of risk. (and the level of comfort in compromising your position against money) Lotto players risk very little, in fact I would say they are pretty much just giving their money away past the first ticket. Buying one ticket has about as much odds of winning as buying 100 tickets. Casino mania actually had pretty good odds but the stakes to play it were higher. To win, one had to actually buy something, (specifically, real estate) and hope that the casino would be approved. The losers were the ones partaking in the mania, the winners were the ones taking advantage of the mania.
So what does this have to do with anything? The recent Lotto mania got me thinking how people will take little pot shots at wealth when its easy and doesn’t appear to compromise their stand on having wealth, but will not sharpen up their skills to actually hit bulls eyes on wealth. Creating wealth for whatever reason whether it be noble or wasteful is easy enough to do. It’s just not glamorous. Playing Lotto (and I’m not against playing Lotto, I just like to put my efforts into something that doesn’t rely on chance and 1:100,000,000,0000,000 odds) or playing for the approval of a casino (or factory, or shopping mall, or whatever coming to town) places one in the position of chance. Maybe you will win, probably you will lose. Investing is not about participating in mania. It’s about understanding the business, understanding the market and understanding that you are in control of the decisions and directions you take.
If you fell victim to Lotto mania recently, that’s OK. It just means that deep down somewhere there’s a fire in you to have a better life or at least some financial freedom. The question you should ask is; If I’m willing to take a pot shot at 1/2 a billion dollars, am I willing to invest some real effort into perhaps creating a perpetual income stream of $5,000 per month? $5,000 of monthly income can be achieved easily in 3-5 years, but it’s not like buying Lotto tickets. If you learn what you’re doing, the odds are actually in your favor instead of against you. That means better that 1:1 odds.