By Dave Ramsey
As you know, many states have some kind of Powerball lottery—the one with the huge payoff. This is pretty ridiculous, folks. The other day I went into the gas station to pay for my fill-up and saw a line of people. For a moment I thought I was going to have to stand in line to pay for my gas, but then I realized that the line was for purchasing Lotto tickets!
Have you ever seen those lines? Next time you do, look at the people in the line—Darryl and his other brother Darryl. These are not rich people. These are not smart people. Rich people and smart people would be in the line if the Lotto was a real wealth-building tool, but the truth is that the Lotto is a rip-off instituted by our government.
"But Dave, our state says the money is going to scholarships!" That may be partially true, but guess who's getting the scholarships statistically? Kids in middle-class and upper-class ZIP codes—so poor people are sending middle class kids to school. How stupid is that?
"But Dave, someone has to win!" Did you know the divorce rate among Lotto winners is four-fold the national average? Also, 65% of Lotto winners are bankrupt within 15 years. Scary, isn't it? I sure don't want that, and I bet you don't either.
Gambling is a tax on the poor and people who can't do math. Don't get mad at me for saying that. This is not a moral position; it is a mathematical, statistical fact. Studies show that the ZIP codes that spend four times what anyone else does on lottery tickets are those in lower-income parts of town.
Addictions like this suck the money and soul right out of anyone tangled up in the mess, whether or not they realize it. These are real people just like you. These people are your neighbors, coworkers, family members—maybe even you. We don't treat gambling addicts, but we try to help their families survive in the wake of their disaster.
A lady at a book signing I did recently told me her story with tears in her eyes. You see, her husband was an addicted gambler. She lost her home, her cars, and everything else, because instead of getting a job and working, her husband thought he was going to get easy money. He fell into a trap.
The Lotto, or gambling of any kind, offers false hope, not a ticket out. A plan to get out of debt offers hope that works.
There is a better way to build wealth. Learn more in Dave's best-selling book, The Total Money Makeover.
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