OPINION: Buying the dream is not a true reward

Abbey Marshall | Managing Editor

Abbey columnist pic (1)

Most adults graduate from the head-in-hands, glassy-eyes-out-the-classroom-window childlike hopefulness, but that doesn’t mean they stop dreaming. Adults dream in a different way, a way some people might deem practical and tangible, but is just as unrealistic as the ten-year-old wanting to become a pop star. As the powerball jackpot surpasses an astronomical $1.5 billion, researchers are gaining insight as to why exactly people purchase lottery tickets. It has less to do with winning and more to do with dreaming.

From an economic standpoint, buying a lottery ticket is an awful deal, as many are aware. The chances are paper thin, not to mention the huge tax hit even if you were to win. Yet the industry continues to flourish. Many Americans are “buying the dream”: all the results of hard work, minus the hard work.

In an era where the Kardashians are rich for no apparent reason, everyone wants to make it big without the grunt work. Americans’ judgements are clouded by fantasies of lounging around on the beach without a care in the world, as seen on TV. People want the “easy way out”.

The state of Kansas is suffering about a $10 million shortfall at the moment. Its plan? Hope that someone in the state wins the lottery. A Kansas winner would be forced to surrender at least $40 million to the state government in taxes, dragging them out of their economic slump and then some. Instead of actually solving the problem, the state is investing in sheer hope.

In an ideal world, we would all win the lottery and quit our jobs and sip ice-cold drinks with little umbrellas on the sandy beaches of Mexico. Unfortunately, it’s not practical. That’s not to say we shouldn’t dream; in fact, I would say quite the opposite. Dreaming is what propels reality. Dreaming is what forces us to work hard and achieve success. The key is hard work.

The working class works hard for its money. Instead of wasting your nine-to-five paycheck investing in someone else’s dream (statistically speaking), invest in your own. Start a savings account to invest in your education, take out a mortgage to invest in your family, book a flight to invest in leisure with your loved ones. That’s worth more than millions.

 

Originally published in The Chronicle on January 15, 2016.

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