Should you count on winning a lottery for your retirement? Of course you should not bet every last dollar on the lotteries, but occasional participation does not hurt: one can easily save $5 every couple of weeks for lottery; losing your principal does not hurt your standard of living, but winning a jackpot can save you many years of hard working.
This MSN Money featured article gives out some smart-playing tips:
- Know the odds: odds in the big lotteries do not change when number of ticket-buyers surge, so it helps to participate only when the jackpot becomes huge.
- Be random: random numbers do not increase your change of hitting the jackpot, but it helps to decrease the odds of sharing the jackpot.
- Go ahead, scratch in public: scratch games usually return more than lottery (60% vs 50%). (Actually I will not take this advice -- jackpot scratch games are mostly in the 100,000s. If it is not enough to make a comfortable retirement, why do you want to pay $1 to get $0.60?
- Beware the stale game: do not participate in scratch games in which the biggest prize is already taken
- Watch for promotion: buy-one-get-one-free deal increases your chance of winning.