Think Winning the Lottery Will Fund Your Retirement? Think Again.

April 23, 2019

People of all ages want to be able to count on a secure retirement so they can do things like travel, pursue new hobbies or other callings, and enjoy more quality time with family and friends. But those who are in the early or middle stages of their careers largely came of age during the Great Recession and have spent much of their lives hearing grim pronouncements about whether they’ll ever be able to afford to stop working. These discouraging thoughts might explain why almost 60 percent of young professionals seem to have concluded that eventually winning the lottery is a reasonable enough possibility to include it in one’s retirement savings plan.

Well, the odds of winning a given Colorado lottery jackpot are one in 5.25 million; for a national Powerball prize they’re an astronomical one in 292 million. In fact, you’re more likely to get squashed by an asteroid (one in 1.6 million) than you are of winning the jackpot.

For regular people, the reality is that securing retirement takes time, preparation, and focus. This may mean working with a financial planner, paying close attention to any fees on your investments, and conducting your own due diligence about money and your relationship to it. It definitely means starting sooner rather than later.

The good news is that if you’re employed with a Colorado PERA organization—or with just about any public service entity that offers a defined benefit plan—you have a lot of help in the form of low-cost investment options, regular informational meetings, and excellent customer service.

So if you’re on the earlier side of your career, take advantage of the many service and investment options PERA and its employers have to offer. Because even if you never win the lottery, at one in 30, your odds of using financial fundamentals to eventually become a millionaire are still quite strong.