Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.  ~Zig Ziglar

Money is important. And it’s desirable—proven by the mass purchase of tickets for the January powerball lottery. News reports covered such critical topics as which Zig Ziglar quoteHollywood stars bought tickets, and the science behind picking winning numbers. And then they had to report on the winners and their plans for the money, of course.

I get that it was a record amount of money; I get that it was a lot of money. But I also read in CNN Money that the odds of winning were 1 in 292,000,000. Two hundred and ninety-two million, y’all!

Do you realize you are more almost four times more likely to die from an asteroid strike? Those odds are only 1 in 74,817,414.

Or two and a half times more likely die in a vending machine accident (1 in 112,000,000)? Vending machine!

According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, people in the United States spent $70,000,000,000 (yep, billion, if you’re having trouble counting those zeroes) on the lottery in 2014. That’s almost four times more than what was spent on tickets to sporting events. Six and a half times what was spent on movie tickets.

And statistics show that the vast majority of lottery money comes from those who can least afford to throw away money. According to a study by Duke in the 1980s, lotteries are "the most heavily taxed consumer product in America."the poorest third of Americans bought half of all lottery tickets. North Carolina Policy Watch confirmed the trend when they found that those living in the poorest counties bought more tickets than anyone else.

How about this little known fact? According to Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston, lotteries are “the most heavily taxed consumer product in America.” Don’t believe him? Check out the figures for yourself. Tax Foundation found that in 2009, the lotteries provided more income to states than that state’s corporate income tax.

What’s my point?

I’m not berating the lottery. I understand it is a voluntary tax, and I can choose to walk away. And I do. When all the powerball hype started hitting my personal space last month, I could only shake my head. No, I did not buy a ticket. Or two tickets. The five people in my household spent a grand total of $0 on lottery tickets last month.

What I would like for people to understand is this: God’s provided a better way. And when we do things God’s way, He provides His results. Isn’t that the way to really win big?

Yes, the lottery may be your Get Rich Quick scheme, but more than likely it’s nothing more than a way for you to donate money to your state or local government.

If you’d rather do life God’s way, then you need to consider what He said in the Bible. And He talks about money a lot—which means He wanted us to get it right.

That is one of the reasons Kathy Barnett, my co-author for The Warrior’s Bride and the Beyond Warrior’s Bride series, and I wanted to bring you an eBook all about money.

We know the dismal picture of military family finances.

  • 64% are somewhat to greatly stressed about their current financial condition.
  • While 86% report using a budget, only 23% report strictly following it.
  • Of those with no retirement savings, 60% say they don’t make enough to save for the future.
  • 36% use non-bank borrowing methods like payday advances, pawn shops, and rent-to-own stores.
  • 39% only pay the minimum balance on their credit cards each month.

If you saw yourself in some of the statistics above, don’t be Personal Financedismayed. You can improve. Your checkbook, savings, and TSP (Thrift Savings Plan) balances can go up, and your debts can go down.

Let us encourage and help you through the pages of Finances: A Military Spouse’s Biblical Guide to Personal Finance. Just $0.99 on your favorite eReader.


Reports quoted in this post:

You’re Even Less Likely to Win Powerball Than You Think 

Reuters: US Lotteries and the State Taxman

The Atlantic: Lotteries: America’s $70 Billion Shame

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