Author Topic: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?  (Read 7570 times)

blake201

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I have some close relatives I love very much who I have been trying to convince to stop playing the lottery, and none of my arguments are working. I know things are very tight and they struggle with their bills from month to month and even sometimes pay their utility bills late. But EVERY week they spend a lot of $$$ buying lottery tickets, and they often call my husband and I whenever there is a big lottery pot and try to convince us to play.

Our standard response has been "the chance of winning the lottery is less than getting struck by lightning and you might as well throw money out the window—if you had invested all the money you spent on the lottery in your retirement account... " and just "no thank you, we don't play the lottery." etc.

Obviously this has been completely unsuccessful. Is it even worth arguing?

This_Is_My_Username

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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 12:11:16 AM »
It sounds like it is very unlikely that your relatives will change.

It is probably easier to change your attitude, and stop giving a shit about what your relatives spend money on.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 05:07:47 AM by This_Is_My_Username »

nikki

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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 03:27:05 AM »
It sounds like it is very unlikely that your relatives will change.

It is probably easier to change your attide, and stop giving a shit about what your relatives spend money on.

^^^ this.

I know how frustrating it can be when you want to help your family make smarter choices, but ultimately they are THEIR choices. Too much tension has been brought into relationships with my family members because I'm unable to keep my mouth shut about my opinions on their wasteful behavior. Don't be me ;)

Villanelle

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 04:54:12 AM »
Other people's choices are not your problem.  Of course, if the consequences of those choices become your problem, then this might be somewhat debatable, but that's a different conversation, I think.

You've done what you can can by trying to plant the seed.  Move on.

chasesfish

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 06:45:43 AM »
Yeah, I'd probably just stop trying on that one.  That's up there with asking questions like:

"How can you afford cigarettes and not health insurance?"

"Why do you struggle to pay your bills every week but replace your car every two years?"


rubor

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2013, 07:06:33 AM »
Our thinking process makes it really hard to truly understand huge numbers or really long odds. Lightning examples don't help much in my experience, because instead of thinking, "wow, that's really rare," people tend to think, "hey, I've heard of people who have been struck by lightning - I better buy more lottery tickets!"

A real world example that worked for me to get my dad to stop buying lottery tickets: I told him that his new grandson could buy 4000 Powerball tickets EVERY SINGLE DAY from the day he was born until the day he died, and he would still not have a 50% chance of winning*. I think that hammered the futility home. He still buys one here or there just to fantasize for a bit, but he's stopped buying $40-$60 worth.

Try it out and see if it helps.

*Math per math professor Lorden quoted in this article - I converted 126,000 per month to 4,000 per day, and assumed 80 year lifespan.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/10/your-money/win-a-lottery-jackpot-not-much-chance-of-that.html

Deano

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013, 08:04:13 AM »
I have a relative who played the lotto for 30 years. Clearly anti-mustachian. Then he won 15 million, who am I to judge?

SnackDog

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2013, 08:11:47 AM »
The more tickets you buy, the better your chance of winning. If you are going to play, you might as well go whole hog.

lentilman

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2013, 05:32:42 PM »
Probably the optimum number of tickets for them to buy is 1, not zero.

If they buy 1 ticket, they can still have the daydreaming and possible excitement of winning. That's what they want, and more tickets don't increase that feeling much.  That way they can be "in it to win it" but not affect the budget.

Perhaps the best way would be to tell them that with one ticket that have a fifty-fifty shot - they will either win the lottery or not. 

Zamboni

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2013, 08:18:13 PM »
^That's what my mom does.  One quickpick per week.

The daydreaming seems to make her happy.

pachnik

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2013, 09:03:55 PM »
My grandfather used to buy lottery tickets once in a while. 

He had done very well for himself - owned his own home and a rental property, had his own business as a carpenter and was surrounded by family who loved him.  I remember asking him why he bought lottery tickets and he told me that he hoped he would win so he could give the money to his grandchildren.  :)     I guess he was daydreaming about helping his family.




Khan

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2013, 09:16:55 PM »
Every now and then if I'm feeling frisky, I might buy 1 lottery ticket with 1 pick for the next 20 lottery events, for mega millions, that's 2 months of "dreaming". Other times I won't even think about it. And in the end, the money goes into important things like education. I probably spend ~50$ a year doing that.

You could try to get them to scale it down like that. Still get to "live the dream", without breaking the bank, but in the end the lottery is probably the least of their monetary pitfalls, and you can lead a horse to water...

blake201

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2013, 09:34:03 PM »
Thanks everyone. Sounds like you all agree with my husband, who has told me to give up trying to talk to them about it. I know it also a form of entertainment/daydreaming for them, but... I hate to see them worried about getting their lights or gas shut off.

I think the biggest underlying issue is they have a mortgage that is too much for them to afford, but the lottery tickets don't help.

gooki

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2013, 01:21:50 AM »
Sounds like they have to hit rock bottom before they are going to change.

If they are religious you could crap on about how gambling is a sin.

nikki

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2013, 02:11:57 AM »
I have a relative who played the lotto for 30 years. Clearly anti-mustachian. Then he won 15 million, who am I to judge?

Bahaha--my estranged grandfather's wife won $4 million, and my grandmother consistently makes $10k or more a year from SLOT MACHINES of all things.

MrsPete

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2013, 10:39:36 AM »
You'll probably never succeed in your attempt to get them to see that money spent on the lottery is money wasted . . . but here's an idea:

Every time they suggest that you play the lottery, tell them you've decided to play the mason jar lotto . . . and ask how much they're spending.  If they say they're spending $20, you put $20 into your mason jar.  After a period of time, ask them how much they've won back from their lottery investment . . . and tell them that you have $$$ in your mason jar lottery.  Perhaps seeing that by NOT playing, you have $$$ left, they'll see the light.

If not, let it go.
It's not your money.

hybrid

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2013, 02:55:48 PM »
I feel for the OP since she said these folks are close relatives and not remote strangers someone mentioned on an Internet forum.  For us responders, it's a helluva lot easier to say "Screw 'em, their dumb choice" than for you, someone who obviously cares a lot about them.

I don't think you can change their minds though.  All you can do is live by example.  And try to stay financially (if not emotionally) distant from them if possible.  I know that's not always possible.

The lottery is a scourge.  I know it's a free society and all, but I would vote to get rid of the damned thing in Virginia in a heartbeat if we could somehow put that genie back in its bottle.  At the very least get the government out of the gambling racket and put it back in the casinos where it belongs.  People will still gamble, but we don't need the government encouraging them to do it.

ritchie70

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2013, 04:13:11 PM »
Thanks everyone. Sounds like you all agree with my husband, who has told me to give up trying to talk to them about it. I know it also a form of entertainment/daydreaming for them, but... I hate to see them worried about getting their lights or gas shut off.

I think the biggest underlying issue is they have a mortgage that is too much for them to afford, but the lottery tickets don't help.

What I've learned with my mother-in-law is that even when you ARE contributing a significant amount to supporting their household, you don't get the right to tell them how to spend their money.

My MIL pays $130 a month for cable while trying to live on $700 a month of Social Security, and refuses to change it or any of her other bad financial habits that led her to a place where we provide housing at no cost to her but significant cost to us. I just smile and try not to think about it too hard.

onehappypanda

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2013, 05:11:38 PM »
Basically the others have covered it, but it's pretty pointless to argue with them. People will choose to make their stupid choices, and there's often little you can do about it.

Live your life, make it clear that YOU choose not to play the lottery, maybe point out to them that it's a waste now and then. But I wouldn't expect much drastic change from them, if they've been playing this long then they'll probably just keep up with it. Some people are addicted to the thrill of it.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2013, 06:01:03 PM »
I can't throw stones because I play the lottery with a stock trading account every week.  The past few weeks I hit a small jackpot when I bought 100 Nokia $6 Jan calls for $0.25 each.  This was AFTER Microsoft announced it was buying Nokia :-)   300% gain in a few weeks...more fun than a scratch and lose ticket.

I do buy a powerball now and then when the pot gets above 400 million.  I dream of a flight to the ISS...

Zamboni

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2013, 08:36:26 PM »
After a period of time, ask them how much they've won back from their lottery investment . . . and tell them that you have $$$ in your mason jar lottery.  Perhaps seeing that by NOT playing, you have $$$ left, they'll see the light.

While this seems like a good idea, I am certain this won't work.  They will remember only the total of what they have "won," but won't be mentally able to subtract out how much they spent playing.

There was a story I read somewhere long ago about a struggling unemployed guy coming into a $30,000 windfall and blowing it all in one swoop on scratch cards.  Oy!

mikefixac

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Re: Is it pointless to try to convince relatives not to play the lottery?
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2013, 09:37:47 PM »
Quote
It sounds like it is very unlikely that your relatives will change.

It is probably easier to change your attitude, and stop giving a shit about what your relatives spend money on.

Your quote is what I learned from a book "How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World". Definitely changed my perspective, and now I don't try to change anyone. It jus ain't gonna work. And I still have got to learn to just let it go.

BTW, the book is a great read.