Real Cost of Playing the Lottery

Over the last few days, people who rarely or never play the lottery have been coming out of the woodwork, buying up tickets for the record setting 540-million dollar Mega Millions jackpot.

But for at least 20-percent of Americans, playing the lottery is a regular habit, that finds them spending hundreds of dollars every month.

53-year old Milton Parker of Barrington is an one of those players.

He's an eternal optimist, hoping that each dollar he spends on the lottery, will be the one that makes him a millionaire.

“I'm due for the win.” said Parker.

It's that attitude that keeps Milton Parker, and so many long-time lottery players, coming back for more.

“I've been playing actually since I was about 20-years old, which I'm 53 now, so you can figure it out.” said Parker.

In that 33-year span, Milton has spent more than a few bucks on all sorts of lottery games, from Mega Millions and Powerball, to The Daily Numbers Game.

“I probably spend about $150-$200 some months, between all the different games.” said Parker.

In all those months and years, Milton has never hit a really big jackpot.

But if he'd been saving and investing the cash that he's poured into the lottery he'd be getting a pretty good pay-out after 33-years.

“Someone who had a disciplined  investment plan and said 'I'm gonna invest this money and it's gonna make 8-percent over the next 33-years,' you'd wake up after 33-years and have almost 300-thousand dollars.” said Jason Archambault of SK Wealth Management.

Jason has seen first hand the kind of pay-off that a sensible financial plan can bring a person.

But he knows that for most people, the thrill of winning a big pile of cash from a lottery jackpot, is a lot more gratifying, than watching it slowly grow over the course of decades.

“The secret is the compounding of money, which people forget about, you know the more you have, the quicker its going to rise.” said Archambault.

And for die-hard lottery players, like Milton Parker, just the thought of seeing their numbers align, is enough to keep them playing the game.

“You can't win if you don't try is right, so I'm trying.” said Parker.

Milton said that the chance to win a record amount of cash from the Mega Millions jackpot on Friday, has encouraged him to spend a little more than he typically does, but he said he wasn't going to go overboard.

After all, there'll be another drawing, next Tuesday.