The Powerball jackpot has risen to \$1.5 billion dollars. It's never been that high.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are about zero. If you buy a ticket, the odds increase only slightly, to 1 in 292,201,338. If you buy two tickets, your chance of winning increases to 2 in 292,201,338. Yeah, that’s twice the chance, but still pretty close to zero. And you’re out \$4. Look at it this way: this particular lottery has already gone through 18 drawings, and no one has hit all the numbers any of those times.

The astronomical odds can be confusing. To get an idea of how the lottery works, you can try the Powerball Simulator. In a flash, it played six months of Powerball for me, wherein I paid \$112 for tickets and won \$12. Yay. You can keep playing if you like. The simulator doesn't cost anything.

But what if you win? The first thing you should do is hire financial advisors. And you should take the annuity instead of the cash payout. Mainly because a Powerball winner is not the greatest financial wizard around. We know that because they bought lottery tickets.

Even if you understand the odds, you might want to buy a ticket because the jackpot is so high that the “expected payoff” formula is worth the \$2. That is, before you figure out how much tax will be taken out, and the possibility of splitting the jackpot with multiple winners.

Or you might want to buy a ticket just because the thrill is worth \$2. That may be true, but the people who are buying tickets are buying more than one. And many of them can’t afford that kind of thrill.

I still think it’s better to not buy a ticket in this week’s Powerball lottery, precisely because the jackpot is so high. That kind of money is guaranteed to ruin your life. No matter who wins, if anyone does, I can tell myself I still have that \$2.

(Image credit: Flickr user Clint Gardner)

You have a point, but I would consider it a great sacrifice to be the steward of such an amount. I have seven children, three grandchildren, a slew of in-laws, two jobs, and a disabled husband. I know what it's like to give everything you have and find that it's still not enough.
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I just don't understand the "1.5 billion is too much for any person" reasoning. I agree you would have a lot more to think about and perhaps more worries associated with how to spend it or give it away responsibly, but you have to also consider the positive ways you could use that much money. I think it would be a tremendous chance to accomplish some things you could never do otherwise. And just because some lottery winners have behaved stupidly does snot mean every winner has to end up the same way.
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I'm buying one \$2 ticket. My odds of winning without it are something like infinity. I liken it to a voluntary tax for education. I have to go outside now and bring in my recycling bin. Hope I don't get hit by lightning or run over by a tank.
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time will spin a most curious yarn this evening , so strap in and enjoy the B type horror movie

to our beloved Miss C : I have that same problem at times ,but then I'm often reminded of a quote from BBC America's Top gear : "do you need a car like this , probably not
do you want a car like this , you bet your bippy or something to that effect"

to that Alan nobody may ever need that kind of money ... but I still hope it goes to a single ticket winner =^P
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