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Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCESS NewsletterFinancial Education Newsletter
Lottery: Don't bet on winning

MMI Copywriter

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

Americans are saving more. The average savings rate is now more than 6% of post-tax income. In times of economic uncertainly, it is clear that many consumers believe that establishing a savings cushion is important to their financial well-being. Yet there are many other Americans who feel that establishing wealth is beyond their reach.

27% of Americans think that winning the lottery is the most practical way for them to accumulate wealth. Unfortunately for them, the odds of winning the PowerBall jackpot are 1 in 195,249,054. To put that in perspective, the odds of being killed by an asteroid are much more likely—about 1 in 700,000.

For those that do win occasionally, it rarely enough to cover their expenses. The average lottery player only wins $.53 for every dollar they play. The “return” is even less when you factor in the cost of gas to get to the store and the value of the time spent playing. Unfortunately, studies suggest that these losses are most often experienced by people who can least afford them.

According to a 1999 report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission titled State Lotteries at the Turn of the Century, income has little relationship to lottery play overall up to $50,000, and drops off sharply at higher incomes. This fact suggests that “lottery expenditures represent a much larger burden on the household budget for those with low incomes than for those with high incomes.”

If you enjoy playing the lottery, then you should play for entertainment purposes only and include gambling expenses in your monthly budget. However, if you are playing the lottery because money is tight, you are probably just compounding the problem. Establishing a savings account (even with today’s low interest rates) is a far safer bet.

Do you play the lottery? If so, do you play just for fun or are you hoping for a big win?  Are gambling expenses part of your budget?


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New infographic: How kids use and learn about money


Money Management International (MMI) has just released a new interactive infographic that visualizes how kids of different age ranges use and learn about money.

Following are statistics over three age groups (under 10, 10-14, and 15-18) as they relate to the infographic and tips on teaching those groups good money management skills.

Kids under 10

  • Kids under 10 spend 54 percent of their money on wants – that is more than any other age group.
  • Kids under 10 also devote more of their money to savings than any other age range: 28 percent.
  • The major influencer for children younger than 10 is their piggy bank.
  • Three times as many children under 10 have bank accounts than their parents did when they were that age.
  • Young children are at an opportune age to begin good saving habits. Give children piggy banks to encourage saving when they are very young. Once they are a little older, graduate them to their own bank savings account.

Kids age 10-14

  • Children in this age range spend a greater percentage of their money (20 percent) on things they need.
  • Kids today are five times more likely to learn about money as children than their parents did as children.
  • The major financial influencers for 10-14 year olds are schools and structured learning.
  • Parents should take advantage of the financial lessons schools offer to kids, such as fundraising opportunities, and expand on those lessons at home.

Kids age 15-18

  • Teens spend more of their money than any other age group on needs – 27 percent. This shift probably reflects teens increased responsibility over their lives, including responsibility over their finances.
  • The major influencers for 15-18 year olds are their parents.
  • Parents can help prepare 15-18 year olds to be good money managers by involving them in the family finances. Encouraging teens to get a job and earn their own money will also help them learn financial responsibility.

View the infographic on and get the code so you can embed the graphic on your blog or website.

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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