I have never bought lottery tickets on my own. But if there’s a pool going on at the office, I’m there. I’ll run to my car and dig for change under my car seat if I have to.
Why do I do this?
Consider – there are 4 basic scenarios:
1. You participate – the pool loses.
2. You participate – the pool wins.
3. You don’t participate – the pool loses.
4. You don’t participate – the pool wins.
In Scenario 1: the most you will lose is your contribution ($1 or $2 or $5). Scenario 2 is the big one, of course – depending on how much you win, that can be financial freedom right there (or at least enough for a down payment or a year’s worth of Roth IRA contributions).
In Scenario 3: you don’t lose anything. You get to keep your dollar for tomorrow’s lunch, or whatever. But Scenario 4… Scenario 4 is the WORST possible scenario of them all. It’s the reason why I buy in lottery pools – not because I think I’ll win, but to protect myself against the horror that is Scenario 4.
I understand that the chance of the office pool winning is small. Very, very, very small. Close to impossible, even. But I’m not talking about probability here – I’m talking about being the only person who did not participate in the lottery and now has to watch all his/her coworkers jubilantly cash their million-dollar payouts.
I most happily and willingly pay my dollar or two to insure against that scenario from coming true.