Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Lottery

I listen to podcasts frequently.  I listen while I work (and can listen while I do work around the house as well).

This freakonomics podcast discussed the lottery, and incentives for people to do "the right thing" (whatever that means).  There was a huge jackpot in the lottery some months ago, I don't think I bought a ticket even then. 

Despite not being a math major, I know enough about the probability of winning.  I would have a greater chance of getting struck by lightening.

In the podcast, it mentioned a new type of savings account to entice people to save their own money.  You put a certain amount of money into the account, and winners are drawn weekly.  In South Africa, the interest from the accounts was pooled, and that is what one person would win.  The principal is still in your account, and can be withdrawn for emergency or savings purposes.

We dumped our bank a few years ago on dump your bank day.  It wasn't that we disliked the people at our bank, or even that we agreed (or disagreed) with the Occupy Wall Street protests.  But the bank had just enacted a steep fee (what I consider a steep fee) for having your money in a checking account, even those of us who had been loyal long term customers. 

So we moved to a credit union.  So far, the credit union has provided the same amount of service, the same features that the bank did.  In fact, they provide interest checking and these types of lottery savings accounts.  I signed up for one  after listening to the podcast. 

Again, I probably could save more and also, I have a better chance of winning something than playing the lottery (I'm competing against other account holders, not millions of people).

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