The California lottery is running an ad with the slogan – “Imagine what a buck can do?” 

Sure it is fun to imagine what could happen if you hit “the big one,” anything is possible, right?  We can imagine away all of our problems and financial worries, and being able to buy anything our hearts desired…cars, big houses, luxury vacations, only for a dollar, which is no big deal.


It is fun until you look at the facts associated with playing the lottery.  Facts like you have a 1 in 14 million chance of winning.

According to the 2012 census, 143.7 million people play the lottery every year, spending an average of $70 billion dollars.

Again, using your imagination is fun but when the odds of winning are unlikely, there are some more productive ways of using your imagination to grow that buck into tangible rewards that are far greater and have better odds of winning.

Our imaginations are the playgrounds for creating ideas to improve our lives.  It is the sketch pad to develop our gifts and talents to be used to benefit our communities and contribute to the world.  Let’s not forget that technologies like the cell phone, the IPad and Fitbit started in someone’s imagination.

Households that make less than $12,400 a year, spend on average 5% of that income – approx. $620 annually on the lottery (Wired, 2011).  Let’s see what’s possible, if we take that $620 and imagine better and beneficial uses for it:

  1. Invest – For a lot of people who live from check to check, having a savings is a farfetched idea.  However, if they were to hold on to their lottery dollars and invest that $620 dollars annually @ 4%, over 10 years it will grow to $8362.
  2. Start a Business – Starting a side business is a good way to earn extra cash. Just a quick Google search revealed tons of businesses that a person can start for less than $1000.  Including a tutoring business, dog walker, professional organizer, translator, photographer and graphic designer.
  3. Vacation – Instead of wishing and waiting to hit the lottery so you can have a better life, how about enjoying life right now. There are several fun filled excursions that cost less than $1000.  All you need to do is find a cheap flight or select a location within driving distance.  Some fun trip ideas include camping, low cost cruises, going to the beach and checking out off-season destinations.
  4. Get an education – With today’s technology, it has never been easier to take a course online. Universities are offering professional certifications and advanced degrees online.  Some of these programs are less than $1000 a year.  Professional development can help you land a higher paying job, one that will pay you enough to enjoy some of the finer things in life.

Instead of gambling on the lottery that will never pay off, imagine how to make your ideas and dreams a reality.  Master your gifts and talents and use them to live a better life right now.

So imagine what would happen if you gambled on yourself?



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