What started as an attempt to teach my kids a financial lesson about why playing the lottery is a bad idea backfired soon – we experienced a lottery win fail! While shopping we saw a huge digital billboard promoting how “nobody makes more millionaires” than the lottery company. Of course, I couldn’t let that sit with the kids and started to explain how most people lose their money attempting to get rich. Then the billboard went to show how the jackpot swelled to almost 40 million dollars.
A very tempting number indeed.
As you can imagine, before any further conversation could happen, we got ourselves covered and played. I kept talking about how we will leave empty-handed from this experience. My daughter, age 8, played two sets of numbers for around $5. This seemed to be a reasonable price to let her experience “the feeling of losing”.
Or so I thought…
…this endeavour ended in a so-called lottery-win-fail!
I wanted to teach her the following lessons:
Get-rich-quick schemes are for the lazy and unambitious.
Respect your dreams enough to pay the full price for them.
What happened next was crazy.
For the first time in decades, we watched the lottery number drawing live on TV together. Since I didn’t expect anything particular to happen at that moment, my focus was not really on the TV at first. However, to my amazement, my daughter seemed to have three numbers out of six correctly, plus she got the extra number right which should pay her around $30.
Oh yay! Oh joy!
But now what happened to my lesson about how playing the lottery is a bad idea?
Well, wait for it.
The next day we went back to the shop to cash-in our gain.
While handing the lottery slip to the cashier, I said in a happy voice my daughter, who was next to me, seemed to have won $30.
The cashier denied it.
She explained: “Your daughter did NOT win $30.”
Our faces paled out.
Then she continued: “Actually she almost won $200 Sir! Your daugher got four numbers plus the extra one correct.”
My daughter looked puzzled. So did I. But then I realized my focus was truly not on playing the lottery and the cashier was right, we did have 4 plus 1 correct. And the cashiers’ screen showed “amount to be paid CHF 189.30”.
She was so excited and kept repeating how we were going to be even richer now as we figured out how to win the lottery. I quickly realized that it would take more than just a short conversation to explain the whole range of emotions and implications further to my daughter.
I realized this has been coined a “memory for life experience” and I’ve lost my original lesson about “playing the lottery is bad and useless”.
What a lottery-win-fail!!!
Next, I had to quickly deliver some new take-aways and teachables to keep the value of this financial excursion as originally intended.
Lessons from a Lottery Win Fail
On the way home, we started talking about what playing the lottery does to people. How lottery tickets are granting permission to dream of another, maybe a better life, how they enlighten hope, positive and negative emotions, joy and disappointment, we went through all these “stages” in the past 24 hours together.
My next thought was, how to teach her wealth from get-rich-quick schemes usually quickly disappears while wealth from hard work grows over time!
1. Get-rich-quick schemes are for the lazy and unambitious.
Don’t fall for get-rich-quick schemes. It takes time and effort to build wealth properly. Marshmallow-Test yourself!
2. Respect your dreams enough to pay the full price for them.
Dream big, work hard, make it happen.
3. Dreaming big leads to bigger wins: However, don’t put “all-in” on big tickets with small odds.
If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough.
4. The lottery can be a fun way to dream big and experience different emotions, but it’s important to remember that the odds are never in your favor.
Dreams don’t work unless you do.
Dream big, set goals, take action!
5. The lesson doesn’t stop at winning the lottery!
This is a great opportunity to show my daughter how to handle bigger amounts of money responsibly.
We will go visit the bank in the coming days to make a nice deposit and invest it for later.
Even though this was a lottery-win-fail, let’s not keep it with that.
Back in 2001 I won a significant amount of money myself, it was six figures, here’s what I did with it.
If you don’t dream big, there’s no use of dreaming. If you don’t have faith, there’s nothing worth believing.
Read my other blog post about why people buy lottery tickets instead of creating their dream lives.
My goal for this lesson is to turn a small win into a sizable amount of money by getting it invested. By the time my daughter turns 18, in about 10 years from now, I want her to have a healthy and wealthy bank account plus the knowledge, experience, and emotional track record, this is how we’ll get there: Planting our dream seeds.
Stay tuned for more exciting adventures in financial literacy!
Dream BIG and financially imagineer your dream life!