Brackets, Lotteries, and Gambling: Why They Never Work

2 Minute Read

Last year, Warren Buffett offered $1 billion to anyone who could pick a perfect bracket in the NCAA tournament. $1 billion!

If you didn't know, picking a perfect bracket in the NCAA tournament is practically impossible. One mathematician estimates it at 9.2 quintillion to 1. You have a better chance of making three holes in one in the same round of golf!

Not surprisingly, the Buffett Bracket contestants fizzled out pretty quickly. The tournament was only 25 games old, still in the first round, before the last perfect contestant lost.

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Warren Buffett's money stayed safe.

The good news for contestants was that entering didn't cost any money—it was pretty harmless.

One thing is for sure, though: People love the idea of getting rich quick. We want lots of money, and we want it quickly. Who needs a slow cooker when you've got a flash fryer, right?

Unfortunately, winning with money doesn't work that way.

Americans spend billions of dollars gambling on the NCAA tournament every year. They spend $65 billion annually on the lottery, all for a 1 in 175 million chance of winning with a single ticket. Maybe it's just a dollar here and a dollar there, but it's more about the mindset than the money.

When you've become used to just waiting on your "big break," how willing are you to put in the work and the hours to actually succeed and win with money?

Whenever we're presented with a get-rich-quick scheme, most of us get caught up in dreaming. And when you're dreaming, you know what you're not doing? Actually working!

We start thinking about what it would be like to suddenly come into a ton of money without having to put in a bunch of time or effort. We then dream of quitting the job we hate, buying everything in sight, and living life in a fourth-floor condo on Easy Street.

Chasing quick money rarely, if ever, works. The odds are stacked against you, and gambling requires little or no skill to win. If you do win, it’s by chance.

Hard work, living on a budget, saving money, and avoiding scams are not gambles. They are the behaviors that will get you money and help you keep it. And the odds that they work? Let’s just say a heckuva lot better than 9.2 quintillion to 1.

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