Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Winter Wonders - Powerball

Yesterday, we got the first snow accumulation of the winter.  Given I live in an area that can get upwards of 120 inches of snow (in the metric system, that translates to "lots of snow"), that shows what a different winter we have had.
It isn't just us (and if you want to see our totals, check out the stats for "Binghamton".)

When I moved to this part of upstate New York in the mid 1980's this was a normal sight by October.

But snow, or climate change, isn't what we are talking about in the United States today.  No, what we are talking about is a true Winter Wonder, never before seen in our country.

In the United States, Powerball is a multi-state lottery.  Residents of 44 states, plus the District of Columbia (our capital is not in a state) and a couple of other American entities such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, participate in Powerball.  Every Wednesday and Saturday night, a series of numbers is drawn.  If you purchase the winning ticket...well, you've won a lot of money.

Maybe, because of taxes, it isn't as much as you think.  And the odds of winning are not great.  Since sometime in November, there has not been a winner.  So the jackpot has grown, and now is around 1.5 billion dollars U.S..  As in "billion".

1.5 billion U.S. dollars translates into a lot of money.  Just think.  Designer clothes.  A fancy car.  A fancier house.  Gourmet food.  Servants.  World travel.  The end of your problems.    Doesn't it sound nice?  (By the way, if you are reading this outside of the United States - yes, you can buy a ticket.  Although, I'm not suggesting it.  Why?  Keep reading.)

So, at work yesterday, the topic was "have you purchased a Powerball ticket?"

My answer:  no.

Years ago- to be exact, over 30 years ago- I knew someone, on a professional basis, who won the New York State lottery.  I'll spare you the details, but it did not end well for him, or his girlfriend. They ended up in court, suing each other over who purchased the ticket, and if the other party had been promised half the winnings and...I have a feeling, by the time it was over, that he wished it had never happened.

He is not alone in wishing he (or she) had never won, if you believe a major New York City newspaper.  Bankruptcy rates approaching 70%..drug overdoses...even winners being murdered.

I speculate the disasters following a lottery win are due to a combination of factors - not knowing what to do when you receive a large sum of money, greed, and losing judgement.  We all say "oh, it won't change our lives; we'll be the same person."  Or "I'll give most of it away".  Wrong.

Still, I don't envy (that much) the people who will win tonight - if there is a winner.

I decided I would rather spend the money on a high quality dark chocolate bar, although a losing Powerball ticket, I figure, has fewer calories.  I'll take obscurity, and happiness, over the misery of winning the lottery.

What about you?  If you live in a place with Powerball, did you buy a ticket for tonight's drawing? Do you have a plan for if you win?  If you don't play lottery games, why not?

24 comments:

  1. I rarely buy a lottery ticket but did plunk down $20 last Saturday. I won $4. I will buy more tickets tonight. As a former finance person and with a son who is an investment advisor, I think we'd be OK. My endowment scholarship at the University will be a little richer too after I take care of my kids.

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    1. Remember, if you win, you have to give gifts to all of your readers. It's in the fine print. (kidding....)

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  2. On the news the other day they talked about 6 people who had won the lottery and how it turned out for them. Several did not use the money wisely.

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    1. It's amazing, all of those stories of terrible happenings - and how they all seem to be reprinted every time a lottery has a huge jackpot. Makes you wonder, though.

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  3. I did a FB quiz... About what I should expect in my future and it said TRAVEL. MARRIAGE. FERRARI. LOTTERY WIN. WINDFALL. So I am thinking... I need to buy a ticket. LMFAO!

    But seriously... I mean. I plan on traveling a lot this year. I got engaged on XMAS... I mean, LOL!!!!

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    1. You got one of them-the engagement. Tonight you'll win Powerball. This is your lucky year, if, of course, you send me a percentage of your winnings.

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  4. I always wonder why I don't win. Of course, that would require buying a ticket.
    But, I do have friend who won the lottery- twice. And, only learned how to spend more money not wisely....

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    1. I found out one of my friends had a relative who won the lottery and blew it all...I'm even more happy I didn't buy a ticket.

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  5. I bought two tickets yesterday. Haha! But I know not to announce I'm the winner anywhere, to get a lawyer, an accountant, and that I'll get part of it taken away for taxes. So no unrealistic expectations here. ;)

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    1. You'll do fine if you win. And, of course, don't announce it on your blog.

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  6. My husband calls lotteries a voluntary tax on the poor. I tend to agree. If you aren't working for it, you aren't going to improve your standing in life.

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    1. I agree. It's also amazing how many senior citizens I know who play it - and, for some, I don't think it's recreation, either.

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  7. We just joined the Powerball pool lately, like within only a couple years. So, yeah, I bought a ticket.

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    1. I found out something interesting. If you don't go in with a group, but, instead, decide to gift people after winning, you have to pay gift tax. Governments will get their share, one way or the other. Good luck, by the way.

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  8. We use to live in upstate New York, how I miss the beautiful snow! As for the powerball, we usually purchase one ticket every so often as a donation to education. LOL

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  9. I'm feeling lucky. So if no one wins tonight... I will buy a ticket tomorrow for Saturday's drawing - ha ha!

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  10. In the Buffalo area, we get a good amount of snow, too.
    My sister and mom bought a powerball ticket. If they win, they will share the money with the rest of the family. I will buy a house near the river and I will buy up some of the wetlands around here and have a conservation easement put on that land. I will also have nature trails put through the wetlands so people can enjoy nature.

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  11. Does the Powerball lotery only happen in winters?
    Lottery is illegal in India. But I guess you are right no matter how much anybody says of remaining the same, giving away the money for charity and all but if he/she ends up winning/getting huge sums of money there are high chances of their losing their mind.

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  12. No Powerball for me. It is just a way for the Government to take more money from people and people give it to them willing.

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  13. It been sloppy here in North Idaho. I bought $2 worth of power ball ticket. I only purchase when the prize is over a 100 million. Can't live on anything less.

    Coffee is on

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  14. Whenever money gets involved in a relationship, it is certainly doomed...We don't get snow here in Bangalore but I love playing with it whenever I visit any place which does

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  15. I don't believe in my luck through lottery Alana and never bought a lottery ticket till now.

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  16. Great post! I don't buy lottery tickets because the odds are always so great. Like you, I'd rather have a nice piece of chocolate. I wouldn't even know what to do with that kind of money if I did win. I heard that 3 people won that lottery... I sincerely feel sorry for all 3 of them. Their lives are about to change forever, and maybe not for the best.

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  17. We've only had one short lived snow fall this year!

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