To help raise money for my Girl Scout troop, I sold raffle tickets for the chance to win various prizes. I distinctly remember looking over my parents’ shoulders as the winning numbers were announced… feeling increasingly excited with each match… and then bitterly disappointed when I ultimately didn’t get the basket of art supplies I’d been eyeing.

There may have been 150 tickets sold for that raffle… and that’s a generous number. Now imagine that number being somewhere north of 300 million.

That’s your chance of winning the lottery: 1 in 300 million.

Last week, we asked you whether you bought a lottery ticket for the historic $1.5 billion Mega Millions drawing a few weeks ago.

In true intelligent investor fashion, almost half of you said, “No way!”

Probably a good call.

If you spend $10 on the lottery, you’re immediately $10 in the red… and the chances of you making that back (and then some) are pretty much 0%.

If you instead invest that $10 in the S&P 500, you’re practically guaranteed to see an average annual 7% gain. And by doing the bare minimum (diversifying your investments, researching companies and investing in other asset classes), you can boost this gain exponentially.

That said, in defense of the 28% who answered, “Of course”… it’s fun to fantasize about the big win and what you’d do with all that loot.

As my dad likes to say, “Someone wins somewhere, so why can’t it be me?”

Good investing,

Katherine Koman, Assistant Managing Editor

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