Do you know someone who plays the lottery just about as regularly as they brush their teeth? Unfortunately, some people seem to think that the pathway to riches is paved with Scratch-and-Win game slips, Quick Pick numbers or Powerball tickets.

5 Signs of Lottery Riches Syndrome

I know it can be fun to play the lottery. And I readily admit to having played a handful of times myself. However, amid the hooplah and excitement over the prospect of “hitting it big” with the lottery, too many people lose all common sense and become afflicted with what I call “Lottery Riches Syndrome.” This is a financially harmful mindset and set of behaviors characterized by five things:

• An habitual practice of purchasing lottery tickets on a regular basis

• A misguided view that the “easiest” or the “only” way to wealth is by picking the “right” lottery numbers (those numbers, of course, are based on your birthday, your child’s shoe size, or some other random one or two-digit number that has special relevance for you – and perhaps countless other people)

• An unwavering, yet statistically unsupported belief that you – and you alone – can and will beat lottery odds of at least one in a million

• A failure to recognize the potential investment loss from money spent month after month, and year after year, on lottery tickets

• A host of big dreams but a complete and utter lack of a concrete, written financial plan to meet one’s personal and financial goals

As The Lottery Spreads, So Too Does Lottery Fever

Unfortunately, “Lottery Riches Syndrome” is especially prevalent in the black community. And in many urban communities in New Jersey, the state in which I happen to live, I fear it’s about to become much more widespread.

You see, New Jersey Lottery officials on Sunday began selling Powerball lottery tickets in New Jersey. As a result, tonight’s drawing with be the first Powerball drawing with New Jersey lottery players buying tickets directly from the Garden State.

All told, Powerball tickets can be purchased in 41 states, in addition to Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands. Powerball drawings are held each Wednesday and Saturday night. Since Mega Millions has already come to New Jersey, and is held on Tuesday and Friday nights, I can’t help wondering how many more New Jersey residents are about to get caught up in the lottery, particularly African Americans.

Already, tonight’s Powerball prize is up to an estimated $115 million.

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