You have a 100% chance of winning this lottery

Chances are, you woke up this morning to learn you weren’t the winner of the Powerball’s $1.5 billion lottery. Life will go on as usual (unless you emptied your savings on Powerball tickets…then not so much).

A fascinating story in Vox shows that many Americans — one in five — believe playing the lottery is their only real hope of accumulating significant savings, so they keep playing the lottery.

Another study found that 15% of millennials say the lottery is their plan for accumulating retirement savings, due in part because they plan to support their parents financially and believe Social Security won’t be available. Twenty-eight percent of millennials believe they won’t be able to retire when they want, and another 28% believe retirement will never be a reality.

Occasionally playing the lottery for fun doesn’t hurt. But playing repeatedly is often a sign of financial desperation. In many cases, Americans find saving money to be overwhelming and confusing, so many never start.

Saving, especially saving for retirement, can be easily done and driven in the workplace. While there is still much work to do so that every employee has access to a workplace retirement plan, many employers across America offer retirement savings tools like auto-escalate, auto-enrollment and employer-employee match. This means that whatever money you save, up to a certain limit, your employer will put the same amount of money in your retirement account for free. No lucky numbers involved. Just free cash.

Nationwide, people who make less than $10,000 spend on average $597 on lottery tickets — about 6% of their income.

It doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that shoveling money into lottery tickets is a strategy that will most likely leave you with less money than you began with, but the amount of cash you can make by saving your money is really the jackpot.

So this lottery (ok, it’s not a lottery) has a 100% chance of winning for everyone: If that same 6% ($597) was saved in an average 401k retirement account with a 5% interest rate, it would grow to about $8,000 or more in just 10 years. That’s a return rate significantly more dependable than a lottery ticket and will only continue to grow over time.

How’s that for winning numbers?

Another way to win big for your financial future is by saving 10% of your income toward retirement. That’s the mission of the Save 10 coalition, an employer-based effort working to teach people how to take small steps to ensure their financial future.

Lightning doesn’t have to strike twice in order for you to retire. No matter what age you are, saving 10% has never been easier, or more important. Check out more about the Save 10 effort at www.save10.org.

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