Alright…so I’m not promoting any sort of gambling…but a few buddies and I had a discussion about what it’d be like to win the lottery. What we’d do with the money, how we’d feel, etc.
So the answers rolled in. One said they’d buy a big house, one said a Bugatti Veyron, another said both, and another said an estate with a golf course. While listening to all these answers, I was a little shocked and disappointed – until one of them said, “guys….what about after you buy all that stuff? What about maintenance costs? I know for a fact a million dollar beach unit can run about $30,000 in taxes alone – how much do you really think an estate would cost per annum?”
She beat me to the chase…with a grin I agreed, and then asked her what she’d do with it. She then proceeded to list off business ventures and commodities she’d invest in, along with some other business ideas, and positive life experiences she’d like to have.
Usually, with the lottery there is a very negative stigma attached to it – there’s an actual statistic that states the majority of lottery winners lose all their money within the first couple of years and end up worse off than where they started.
But what I’ve found is noone really bothers to ask why such a negative stigma is attached to this gambling trend that is practiced by millions every day. They never ask, “why do these people lose all that money?” and never ask “how did they lose all that money?” Most people just accept the fact that, “it is what it is,” and feed into the stigma, never unearthing the real root of the problem.
The root of the problem is not foaming at the mouth from having millions of dollars, no…there was once a report of a man who was on public assistance for food and continued to receive benefits while still holding his lottery money.
The root of the problem is in fact much simpler than that – and it’s only four words – lack of financial education.
And I don’t mean the economic kind they teach you in school. The Keynesian economics taught is more of a joke than an actual way to rationalize how money works and why fiat currency operates the way it does.
The answer is many people have just learned to spend their money – never how to actually use it. They’re trained from kindergarten onward to do two things – buy “stuff” and work to buy stuff…then when they get to college (or sometimes earlier dependent upon circumstances) and go out on their own, they’re taught to “work to buy stuff and pay bills.”
The way the employment system is designed, the average person just meets the mark. They start out in school spending 7-8 hours learning – which conditions them for 7-8 hours of work when they reach adulthood. Aside from college where your lectures (or classes, in American terms) are staggered and you get more freedom of time, the average person is conditioned from age 4/5 to sit at a desk and build someone else’s dream…no wonder so many people are depressed or stressed out.
So what happens many times when you spend 8 hours a day building someone else’s dream? You forget your own…but you still make money. The void one can feel is filled by consumerism, which thus begins the cycle. You work to pay bills, and whatever you have left over, you use to purchase “items” that give short term gratification.
They’re never taught about after purchase maintenance costs…matter of fact they’re discouraged to even think about it…and don’t even get me started on credit. Max out your card and then pay the minimum? Bull. Sh*t. The motto is “buy, buy, buy, and feel good…but don’t weep when the bills after the initial one comes”.
“Buy that BMW 5 series where they say you never have to change the oil except every 15,000 miles…but don’t weep when it gets engine sludge because we didn’t mention to only use a specific oil.”
“Buy that Ferrari Spyder, but don’t cry when repairs are needed.”
There is a belief in Europe. “Americans live to work, and Europeans work to live.” In my travels, I’ve realized this is partially true. No offense to any one nation.
So tying this all in with the lottery, we can understand to a degree now why people lose all the money they’ve won within the first two years and can be worse off than when they started. From childhood if their parents didn’t know any better, many have been steered in the wrong direction.
Instead of investing $40,000 in a string of automated businesses, they’re encouraged to go and spend $40,000 on a couple of Rolex watches and ridiculous looking rims.
Instead of investing $1.1 million in solid commodities like gold and silver (no, not the kind you wear), they’re encouraged to go get that Ferrari Enzo they’ve been eyeing but thought they could never afford.
$15 million on a house by the beach? Or $15 million on something that could potentially bring you in an income of $30 million a year? Nope…still, some people will take the house over the business.
Why? It’s my theory that subconsciously we feel so starved from our real desires, the propaganda of the media and product focused companies/markets see this vulnerability and choose to exploit it…and they’re not wrong in it either – it’s nothing personal, just business.
So what do they do? They sell, sell, sell….through magazines, television, movies, music even, billboards, you name it they do it…and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it….because people buy, buy, buy.
They buy because in my opinion when you are so starved from your dreams or desires because you’re constantly pursuing someone else’s through your job, you can pretty much be assimilated to a guy who hasn’t eaten in a week.
It doesn’t matter if this guy ate superfoods at $300 a month alone on just the powder, ate caviar as if it were brazilian nuts, or ate lox and drank an entire bottle of champagne on a daily as breakfast. If he hasn’t eaten in a week and in his mind he’s used to and wants to eat 6 meals a day of only rich (and sometimes unhealthy) foods, it’s irrelevant and he’ll take what he can get if it looks appetizing enough.
So my point is it’s the same thing with the lottery. If the average population is used to having roughly 50-80% of their income go towards bills, of course they’re going to look for an outlet, whether it’s spending $500 at the bar on a weekend to “blow off steam from work”, or spending $5 million on 3 luxury cars right after they’ve won the lottery.
Their vision is clouded because of their surpressed desires. This is what makes them forget about maintenance costs and indefinite taxes…and the way the education system is set up, you can’t really shove the blame on them, they’ve been misled.
Where they can be reprimanded however, is not making the conscious decision after they’ve realized this, to go and make change with their way of thinking. This is where financial education comes in. Robert Kiyosaki, though slightly old school in his methods compared to Tim Ferriss, believes that financial education is one of the single-most important educations a person should have – even surpassing your standard academic education.
And he’s right. Academia can get you to a point, but if you don’t know how to utilize all that knowledge, or even turn that knowledge into a financial river of cash flow, and you’re still working away on auto-pilot with no destination that aims towards YOUR financial success, spending $50,000 plus on a college education really wasn’t worth it in the first place…
….because for $5000 a person who’s never even been to college but invested in financial education, works the same job you do, somehow travels or has more experiences than you do, and somehow ends up with the lucky numbers of the lotto and takes off like a rocket in starting their new life and beats the negative stigma of the lotto, just by making choice decisions and knowing how to work the financial system…has developed more value than a piece of paper that shows you made good grades at an institution that is a business within itself.
Think about it….
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