Students dreaming big, but not too big

Students dreaming big, but not too big

November 27
22:53 2012

Tonight, the Multi-State Lottery Association is going to make some average American feel very, very lucky.

At press time, the jackpot amount for the Wednesday night Powerball lottery stands at half a billion dollars, and the number is expected to climb as ticket purchases increase up to the final hours before the drawing.

If the final jackpot amount rises above $656 million, it will set a new record for the biggest payout in lotto history.

Look, before you roll your eyes at us – we know what your high school economics teacher told you about lottery tickets. We were there.

They’re a tax on stupid people, possibly even a method of exploiting the poor, you have better odds of being struck by lightning in a given year than winning tonight’s drawing – and the lecture drones inevitably on until the bell rings.

We don’t necessarily disagree, but why not tell your inner economics teacher to quit killing your vibe and embrace the mystery for a few minutes? Haven’t you ever daydreamed about what you would do with all that money?

At least a few students on this campus are on board with this temporary suspension of rational thought, since we’re already seeing them line up at local convenience stores to drop two bucks per ticket and set sail on the seas of fate, or something like that.

The closest we’ll give you in terms of a reality check is that if you manage to win tonight’s drawing, you’ll be faced with the choice of taking either a lump sum payout or an annuity payment of your winnings.

Both options are burdened by Uncle Sam to a certain extent – after taxes, your lump sum would come out to about half of the posted jackpot amount, so being patient and taking an annual installment might be wise if you can keep your spending reasonable.

Of course, with an amount this big, your annuity payment would end up at about $20 million dollars a year—so the definition of “reasonable” spending is negotiable. Some private islands only cost a few million dollars, after all.

It’s definitely a little strange to see our famously cash-strapped college crowd spending their student loans on lottery tickets instead of food, art supplies, acoustic guitars and overpriced textbooks, but this isn’t necessarily something to scoff at.

In fact, it’s kind of admirable—even in a time of economic hardship, widespread unemployment and the uncertainty of the so-called millennial generation, our students are still willing to dream big and spin the wheel against gigantic odds.

If you’re feeling lucky, picking up a ticket or two probably wouldn’t hurt – it’s certainly more fun than being struck by lightning, anyway.

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