The current jackpot in the multi-state Mega Millions lottery, of which California is a participant, is $290 Million! That’s a lot of money, even after taxes.
I was never a heavy gambler. Periodic, recreational gambling would have described me best. I could stay at a craps table for several hours and neither win nor lose big. Not losing was the goal. What did I get out of it? A couple of drinks and some shallow entertainment. The most I ever won was $500.00 in Laughlin, Nevada. It was actually two consecutive winnings of $250.00 on quarter slots until they came and shut the machine down.
When it came to the lottery, I think the most I ever spent at any given time was $5-10. Whenever there’s a pool at work, I usually get in on it. My rationale is not that I think we have a better chance of winning. Rather, if they win and I did not participate, then I’d be the only one showing up to work on Monday – that wouldn’t be very cheerful. Then again, if I was the only one there, there would be lots of overtime!
Then I told myself that if God actually wanted me to win the lottery, I would only need to purchase one ticket. Makes sense. Then I came to realize that if He actually wanted me to win the lottery, I wouldn’t even need to purchase one ticket. He created the universe and all that is in it. He could create a winning lottery ticket and place it on the sidewalk in front of me if He chose to do so.
But He hasn’t done that yet, which leads me to believe that maybe He doesn’t want me to win the lottery. It’s not that He hates me and doesn’t want me to have any of the good things in life; but the good things in this life are not necessarily the material things I’ve accumulated nor are they the things I would probably purchase for myself if I were to win the lottery.
Of course, there is the argument, “Think of all the good you could do with that money.” There is some truth to that, however money has not been proven to solve all of the world’s ills. Additionally, if I were to increase my charitable giving after winning the lottery, I could very well increase the dollar amount but decrease the percentage of my giving compared to my earnings. And God deals in percentages when it comes to giving – not dollar amounts. The percentage of what we give is a better indicator of whether the giving is coming from the heart or whether it is simply to keep the
devil IRS at bay.
I’ve thought, “If only I won the lottery, it would be so easy to travel the world and show my kids all the wonders in it.” But, if we did it like that, what would they learn? That everything comes easy? That all good things can be bought? Not good. They’re spoiled enough as it is – and so is their father. They need to learn how to plan and save and prioritize – make hard decisions.
This is one of the reasons we are planning this trip. Between my wife and I, we have a good combined income. We have a nice house and a nice middle class Southern California lifestyle. We don’t have everything but we are not deprived. Unfortunately, having had a good, reliable income for most of my adult life has made it easy to spend foolishly. We can live off far less than we bring in. So, part of this trip is making a deliberate decision to start the trip debt free and end the same way. When it comes to this trip we are planning, we will need to make some decisions. Should we sell the house or rent it out? What will we do for employment after we return? We are having multiple yard sales to simply get rid of stuff. What should we sell, what do we NEED, what are we willing to pay to store? We will need to save a certain amount of money for the trip as will our children. They will need to learn to budget their saved money for the year. They will be tempted at every turn to purchase some trinket which will only take up space and collect dust in the end.
So, our hope is they will learn to work for the money they want. This is contrary to what our current government system teaches. Our current beauracracy teaches that we can have all the things we wan’t by raising taxes (taking from others) or printing more money (pretending/lying), instead of cutting our spending and saving for the things we truly need.
The sales pitch for the California Lottery is, “Part of every dollar you play goes to bettering California’s public education.” I disagree. A small portion funds the government schools, but there is no proof that increased spending produces better educated students.
How would you spend the money if you won the lottery?
Here is how the State of California spends it’s lottery winnings.
- How much does the Lottery give to California public schools?
- In total Lottery contributions, California public schools have received more than $24 billion in Lottery funds since the Lottery began in October 1985. This contribution currently represents approximately 1.5% of the state’s public school annual budget. Remember, Lottery funds are to supplement public education, not to replace state and local funding.
- How are Lottery funds distributed?
- The Lottery’s mandate, as defined in the California State Lottery Act, is to provide supplemental funding to California public education on all levels from kindergarten through higher education, plus several specialized schools.All segments of public schools receive the same per pupil funding level from the Lottery based on the average daily attendance of students in each school district. Since 1985, the educational institutions that receive Lottery funds and their cumulative distributions are listed below:K-12th Grade — 76.71%
Community Colleges — 16.22%
California State University System — 4.30%
University of California — 2.70%
Other Educational Entities — .07%
- Who decides how the Lottery contributions are used?
- Local education administrators, elected school boards and the administrators of higher education make the decisions how Lottery funds are distributed and spent within their systems. The Lottery is not involved in this decision-making process.
- What are the provisions for use of Lottery money and how is the money spent?
- According to the Lottery Act, Lottery contributions can be used only for instructional purposes. The Act bans the use of Lottery funds for the acquisition of property, the construction of facilities or the funding of research.Some districts, especially smaller school districts and higher education, have used funds for computer labs, teacher workshops, science programs, as well as art and music programs.
- Felix Salmon Plays The Lottery, Do You? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Near-record lottery proceeds benefit California schools (abclocal.go.com)
- Ads placed by WordPress- i.e. the lottery (nodollarleftbehind.wordpress.com)
- Misleading Article About Oklahoma Lottery Funds Supplanting Education Funds (speedofcreativity.org)
- Lottery paid $400M to Oklahoma schools (newsok.com)
- The Illinois Lottery and Really Bad Math Skills – Why the Luck of the Irish Won’t Improve your Odds of Winning (benjaminjgoldman.com)
- Winning the California Lottery Is As Easy As Finding Gold (prmarketingcommunication.com)