Lotteries are bad news — regressive tax systems that nickel-and-dime the poor to raise money for public necessities such as school by dangling the false hope of riches before the unwashed masses.
That said, its fun, dammit. So if you’re a lottery player looking for some sort of justification to go the dollar and a dream route, personal finance blogger Well-Heeled, With A Mission has got you covered with a top-notch rationalization.
She applies a bit of game theory to four possible scenarios regarding what could happen if your office has a lotto pool going:
. You participate – the pool loses.
2. You participate – the pool wins.
3. You don’t participate – the pool loses.
4. You don’t participate – the pool wins.
In Scenario 1: the most you will lose is your contribution ($1 or $2 or $5). Scenario 2 is the big one, of course – depending on how much you win, that can be financial freedom right there (or at least enough for a down payment or a year’s worth of Roth IRA contributions).
Well-Heeled goes on to explain the real reason she chooses to participate is a haunting fear of No. 4 coming to pass, however unlikely.
For the record, not once in my life have I ever chipped in to an office lottery pool and I get a sick pleasure out of enjoying scenario 3 unfold on a weekly basis.