We're all guilty of it.
Every single one of us.
That dream of winning lotto, showering in a storm of crisp currency, paying off your debts (and maybe your family's debts), buying a house, a car, the lot. Hey, it would even take care of that pesky superannuation fund.
But what happens when this dream becomes a retirement plan? When this one-in-a-million opportunity (more on this later) becomes the only forward thinking you've got for the golden years?
The prognosis isn't good.
There's a saying around lotto, it claims the draw is ‘a tax on people who are bad at math'. Now while there's no reason not to indulge in the odd exciting draw, the issue is when you count on a win. Odds vary depending on the draw itself, but as an example, the chances of winning a Euro Millions ticket lies at about 1 in 11,531,800 according to the Euro Millions website.
This means a player is more likely to be hit by lightning than win the prize.
In a year.
So how about winning second division or something else?
A late-March lotto draw saw a prize pool of over $1.3M shared between 153 winners – each received just $8,993.85. This could be a great round-the-world trip with all the mod cons, a nice wee car to zip around in, or perhaps a paid-off credit card or two. If you're looking at living off it however, it would last you just a couple of months into retirement before you'd need another winning ticket.
In fact, one year of comfortable retirement for a single retiree is currently worth a little over $42,000, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA). This essentially rules out relying on anything other than first division lotto winnings to support your retirement. With the current retirement age at 65, and the average life expectancy of about 85, you'd be looking for a lump sum of about $843,000 to last you through your golden years in comfort – and that's just for a single person!
With those dreams dashed like whiskey on the rocks, what can you do now?
One idea is to pop the usual ticket cost into your superannuation fund instead. Your basic ticket will set you back anywhere from $15 to $25 – put this much into voluntary contributions every week and you could end up with extra money in your pot at the end of the year on top of any other salary sacrifices or employer contributions.
How much extra money? If you set aside $25 per week for the next 20 years, you would save $26,000 on your own. Not a bad effort!
If this amount was invested and you were fortunate enough to achieve a 5% per annum return, the beauty of compound interest could have boosted the total to an attractive $44,529.
To avoid the same disappointment at the end of your working career as you might usually get after an unfavourable lotto draw, this is likely a much safer bet. In fact, it isn't a bet at all.
Are you relying on a big lotto win?