Play the Lottery? You Bet

There are far worse ways to invest a few bucks

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Erik Tanner for TIME

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From a social-and-economic-policy perspective, it's important to promote savings. There's a way to do that and still offer the promise of a big prize, says Kearney. The Michigan Credit Union League has created a savings account linked to a lottery-like payout for its member institutions: put, say, $25 into a savings account and you're entered into a raffle. This has required maneuvering around regulations that prohibit banks from sponsoring lotteries, though lottery-linked investing accounts have been around since the 18th century. Yup, the Founding Fathers used them in their scheme to finance the Revolution. The result produced the United States, which wasn't a bad return on a game of chance.

So I'll continue to buy my $4 worth of lotto tickets each week. I know rationally that I will never win the big one. But my mind will never tire of spending the imaginary jackpot. And there are many other even more foolish places to waste money. Why does Wall Street keep coming to mind?

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