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How to make half a million bucks by not playing the lottery

DALLAS — Here’s the deal: you’re not winning the Powerball lottery tonight.

Why? Because the odds say you have a better chance of being struck by lightning or dying of chronic constipation than hitting all the numbers in the jackpot.

But, if you happen to overcome the 1 in 292 million chances to win the 700 million prize, what’s the first thing you need to do?

“One of the key things for a lottery winner is to remain somewhat anonymous,” said Bill Dendy, a certified financial planner with Elite Financial Management. “It’s important to get the right advisors working on your team when you win the lottery. You want to build that legal side, you want to set the trusts up correctly and you want to have the investments properly placed.”

Here’s the thing: lottery players can easily spend $100 bucks per month picking their numbers or getting scratch-offs with very little chance of winning. So what would it look like if you started investing those dollars instead?

“Heck, if they started at 25 [years old] with this habit and they continued to 65, if they have instead put that same hundred dollars into an account earning an average of 8% a year, by the time they were 65 they would have $482,000,” Dendy calculated.

Of course, Dendy stressed that 8% growth isn’t 100% guaranteed, but it’s a heck of a lot more likely than you hitting those six numbers tonight.

So have fun playing the lottery. But remember that it’s no retirement plan. Unless you win, of course, in which case enjoy your retirement party tomorrow!