Powerball mania is upon us once again. The lucky winners of Wednesday night’s drawing will receive, at a minimum, a $375 million jackpot.
While the lure of winning such a large sum of money for a seemingly small investment ($2 for one ticket) can be irresistible, those who gamble on the lottery would be wise to save their money, instead of paying what is essentially a voluntary tax to state-sponsored gambling. And some of the biggest contributors to this voluntary tax are the country’s poorest citizens.
In 2014, Americans spent $70.1 billion on the lottery. Yet, the average savings rates of Americans are among the lowest of all modern democracies, generally somewhere around 5% or less. Consumer credit-card debt, meanwhile, is disturbingly high, around $16,000 on average. Average car loan debt is $27,000 per household. Average student loans, $48,000. Mortgage debt, $169,000.