It’s human nature to daydream about winning the lottery, backing the right horse, or getting in on a hot initial public offering. But those daydreams tend to focus on what a person would do with the money if they won. Those who do win the lottery or the stock market often hit a jackpot. And that’s where the term is derived from—a large, unexpected win.
But what people don’t understand about the jackpot lottery is just how unlikely it really is to hit one. “Human beings just fundamentally have a very, very difficult time understanding risk when we have things that are very, very rare,” says Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross. Lotteries exploit that fact by advertising eye-popping jackpots that can be won by purchasing a single ticket. And the fact that the prize money is in the form of an annuity means that most winners take less than the full amount of the jackpot.
If no one wins the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot on Friday night, it will roll over to the next drawing and become even larger. But that doesn’t mean the odds of hitting a record jackpot have improved: In 2015, Powerball lengthened the chances of winning from 1 in 175.2 million to 1 in 292.2 million, and Mega Millions followed suit two years later, lengthening the odds from 1 in 258.3 million to 1 in 302.6 million.
That’s because winning the lottery is a game of chance, and the numbers have to be picked correctly. But the good news is that there are some strategies that can help you boost your odds of success. First, avoid buying tickets from any system that makes unrealistic claims or charges you for services that won’t improve your odds of winning.
Another great strategy is to pick numbers that aren’t common. That will increase your chances of not having to split the prize with too many other people. That way, you can enjoy the whole jackpot without having to share it with anyone else.
Finally, remember that it’s important to save any extra cash you have after winning the lottery. That way, you can continue to invest it in safe investments, which will grow your wealth over time. Too many lottery winners find themselves broke soon after winning, and it’s essential to learn how to manage your money responsibly.
If you’re a lottery player, consider purchasing a few extra tickets when the jackpot is high. That way, you’ll have a better chance of hitting it big and being the only winner. Otherwise, you could end up having to split the prize with several different people, which can deflate the excitement of winning a jackpot. This is especially true when the jackpot is over $1 billion. In those cases, it’s a good idea to get the help of an experienced financial advisor. They can offer you advice and guidance on how to make the most of your winnings.