Powerball, the Odds, and You

    Powerball, the Odds, and You

    By Allen Wastler

    Got a Powerball ticket? Are you thinking about it?

    The $1.3 billion-plus Powerball jackpot is getting a lot of attention…and a lot of players. Even people who don’t normally play the lottery are standing in lines and joining office pools for a chance in this week’s Wednesday night drawing.

    The odds of winning? One in 292 million.1

    The odds you’ll be disabled sometime in your working life? About one in four.2

    Okay, that’s kind of a Debbie Downer odds comparison. People like to daydream about the vast riches of a Powerball win. Getting too hurt or ill to be able to work? Not so much.

    But when Powerball jackpots get high there is a rash of discussions on the Internet and airwaves about odds. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning (1 in 190,000)3 or hit by an asteroid (1 in 700,000)4 are favorite examples. Pundits tend to use these comparisons to point up the ongoing folly of people routinely surrendering money to games of chance.

    Rarely do the odds discussions range into the more practical realm: That regularly spending money to protect against a more likely event may be a smarter move.

    Yes, this is coming from an insurance company. Nevertheless, the odds are the odds. So if you’re buying up a bunch of Powerball tickets this week, it may be worth thinking about.

    Calculating a Disability Hit on Your Finances