Do you indulge in playing lotto? Do you know what the chance of winning lotto in Australia is?
According to Lottoland, the chance of winning the Saturday lotto jackpot is ~ 1: 8,145,060. You have a far higher lifetime chance of dying of a lightning strike (1:138,849) or a hornet/wasp/bee sting (1:59,507) or choking on food (1:2,535).
If you are daydreaming about winning lotto because your dream job became a nightmare, read this.
Assessment of Risk
As a doctor, I discuss risk with patients all the time. It’s pretty clear we humans are terrible at assessing chance, due to psychological biases. Our odds of dying in an aviation accident are immeasurably small, yet odds of dying from heart disease 1 in 6 (US data). I have talked fellow passengers through panic attacks flying commercial, yet never known anyone suffer an hyperventilate about eating a beef burger!
Over 10 million of the 19.4 million adult Australian population brought a lotto ticket within the last 12 months. The concern with these articles is that the lotto players are banking on an unrealistic outcome (winning lotto) rather than saving and investing their way to financial freedom.
But Australia actually seems to be a nation of savers and investors. I was pleasantly surprised to read that 79% of Australians save regularly. Furthermore, 9 million Australian adults hold investments outside their super and primary dwelling. A quarter of these investors have started investing within the last 2 years. Women now make up 45% of all new investors.
So why do we still buy lotto tickets, when many of us are on a far more reliable path to financial freedom?
Winning Lotto Fantasy
My partner buys a lotto ticket once or twice a year, and although really not a gambler myself, I really enjoy prolonging the fantasy of winning as long as possible. Does anyone else enjoy planning out in surprising detail how they would spend and give away their winnings?
Most of my planning is simply an acceleration of my existing financial plan. Boring, I know! I’m not someone who likes to draw a lot of attention, so I can’t imagine buying a showy car.
My lotto fantasies always involved gifting a lot to my favourite family and friends. It would be a lot more fun to be able to do whatever I wanted if I have those people to share it with. If I were to win lotto, I would hope to win enough to pay off their enormous mortgages, to free up some of their time to spend having extravagant fun with me.
After that, the fantasy turns to the absolute freedom I would have over my time. I would continue to work, but more part-time, and I would be ruthless about giving up work I didn’t enjoy.
9 Extra Hours
Recently I stumbled across Physician on Fire’s inspiring post on the 9 extra hours a day he has available since his early retirement. I realised fantasising about winning the lotto is not really about the money, but time and choice. Physician on Fire has won the “Time Lotto” and has all the extra minutes to fill with all enjoyable and important activities.
I try and squeeze this blog, two delightful children, learning a musical instrument and exercise around my work schedule. It is invariably the exercise that gets dumped, although I have such amazing walking tracks near our home I love to go for a 2-hour hike when I get the chance. An extra hour or two per day would provide so many opportunities!
How Would You Spend Your Lotto Winnings?
I have spoken before about fantasising about winning the lotto. It is a useful strategy to broaden your thinking, remove all “realistic” limitations and think about what you would do if money was no object.
I came up with the idea of having a family discussion and vote each year on which charities to donate to. Then I realised there is literally nothing stopping us from doing this already, just on a smaller scale.
What would you do for meaningful work if you won the jackpot? Many professionals I know would, although they may change the type of work. Most would want to adjust their schedule to include less hours of work, and more time off and schedule flexibility.
Indulging in these fantasies, then thinking about them carefully often leads to the realization that you have far more control than you realised. How can you get yourself closer to that dream life without winning lotto?
“In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story”Jeff Bezos
Time and Options are the Ultimate Reward that Come with Money
Do your lotto fantasies come down to how you would spend your time differently? As you become more financially secure, money becomes less important. Do you really want to show off in a flash car, and designer clothes? Is that really important to anyone?
Imagine you have been wildly successful in a business you seized the financial opportunity to create. You are making more money than you have ever imagined, can buy literally anything you want.
But, the business requires your presence for 6 days a week, often late into the evening. And you hate the work you have to do. You cannot outsource the work, it is reliant on you. And if you stop running the business, the income will dry up fast. Will driving a sports car for your long commute back and forth to work really make this life sentence bearable?
Focus on what is really important in life. Once able to pay the bills without worrying, time becomes more important than money.
What Would you Do with 540 Extra Minutes Per Day?
Realising that it is the time, and not the money that defines your future gives you more control. How would you spend the extra 540 minutes a day?
What lessons can you learn from the fantasy and implement right now, or work towards over the coming months and years? How close to your perfect life can you come?
Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does need offer any advice. Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning. Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.