Tuesday 30th August 2016
In this issue of Money Truths….
- Something gentle – to ease us back in….
- ‘I’m going to throw this trowel up the site….’
- Something strange happened on 23rd March….
- My rules for winning big….
Something gentle – to ease us back in….
A slight change of pace and direction this morning. Nothing too heavy – something to ease us back into the cold embrace of normality after a Bank Holiday weekend….
Like me, I’m sure you’ve enjoyed the extra day off. You’ve probably enjoyed some time with the family. Soaked up a little sun. Relaxed with a glass or two of wine….
This morning, like me, you might even have given some thought to the mandatory 4-day working week – and how the political leader who fixes his wagon to that particular horse is a shoo-in vote-winner for whichever party he might represent….
My point is that first day back at the grindstone few of us will be in the mood for unravelling the knotty problem of negative interest rates and their various consequences – intended or otherwise….
As we settle back down to our daily toil – or however it is we each spend an average Tuesday morning – the finer points of fiscal policy and what might or should be done right now with the public finances are not where our fuzzy thoughts are directed….
As we get back into the swing of earning our daily bread, the value of the pound won’t be at the forefront of our minds. Nor the gold market. Nor figuring out whether the stock market is over-priced or not….
A Bank Holiday does something to the system. That extra 24 hours to ourselves doesn’t seem like long. Especially now that it is behind us. But it is long enough for ‘holiday’ mode to kick in.
Somehow, starting back in on the Tuesday after a long weekend is more of a culture shock than your average Monday morning experience. We are a little slower to reach cruising speed. It takes a little longer to set ourselves. We need a little more time to reacclimatize.
So, this morning, we’ll focus our attention on Dreamland – or at last as close as this column travels to that place….
‘I’m going to throw this trowel up the site….’
Retirement is something that a lot of people dream about. There are some who go through their whole working lives as if they are waiting only for that day to come.
In my youth I worked for a short spell on a building site. I was a teenager. One of the bricklayers – who seemed old to me at the time but who would have only been in his early 30s – clearly hated his job.
Now and again he would brandish his trowel at me or some other young sap and with some inexplicable rage boiling on his features he would tell us: ‘When I retire, I’m going to hurl this bloody trowel up the site….’
I sometimes think of that bloke. It’s entirely conceivable that he is still bending his back on some muddy site somewhere, still yelling for ‘compo’ and ‘bricks’ and still waiting for the day to arrive when he has that moment he has waited so long to savor – that moment when he can vent his spleen and throw the tools of his trade and his livelihood into the middle distance….
I don’t know about you. If I’d felt that way about what I was doing, I’d have been thinking about moving on and doing something else. But we’re all different and this guy acted like he’d been sentenced by a court to a lifetime of the unwanted and unloved construction work….
Wherever he is and whatever he is doing, I hope he enjoys his retirement. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s not looking forward to the big day with as much passion as he once did. A lot of people are completely unprepared for retirement.
For whatever reason a lot of people have no money put by – whether in the form of a pension or some other investment or asset that can be liquidated for cash.
I don’t judge. Life is not ABC. It is harder for some than for others. Circumstances allow what circumstances allow. But I do talk to a lot of people who have no kind of private pension building in the background.
Some of those people grasp the nettle. Or try to. I know a couple of people in their 40s with no pension in place. They’re working hard to build business interests – that will hopefully bear fruit further down the line. Others are working to build property portfolios with a similar endpoint in mind. I wish those people good luck….
But I talk to a surprising number of people whose pension plans amount to a variation on one particular theme: ‘I’m planning on winning the lottery….’
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with playing the lottery. The odds against you scoring a big win are astronomical. But you can’t win if you’re not in. And if you have a few quid to spare each month then there is no harm in having a go – no harm whatsoever.
That said you have to accept you are playing in hope rather than expectation. And if playing the lottery to win the jackpot is your idea of a retirement plan, then you are probably in a little trouble. Deep down you probably know it….
But that aside, there are things you can do to increase your chances of landing a life-changing – and retirement-changing – sum of money.
Something strange happened on 23rd March….
The key thing you need to do is to start thinking differently to the herd….
Something very strange happened with the Lotto draw on Wednesday 23rd March 2016.
The winning numbers that night were 7, 14, 21, 35, 41 and 42. The bonus ball was 43.
Nobody actually won the jackpot. But imagine if you’d hit 5 of the main numbers and bagged the bonus ball too. You’d probably expect a substantial payout. And you’d have every right to do so. After all, the odds of pulling that trick off were 144,415/1.
But the fact of the matter is that 4,082 individual players bagged 5 numbers on that particular night. All they got paid out was £15 apiece (£13 when you subtract the cost of playing the line at £2).
It’s not much to show for achieving something that most players will never experience – 5 numbers.
The fact is that these people fell victim to a common curse. They were guilty of engaging – unwittingly or not – in group think.
Look at the main numbers. Five of the 6 numbers are divisible by 7. To play such a pattern in the expectation that you’ll be the only player doing so is something bordering on lunacy….
And consider this. Not a single one of the 4,082 players who got 5 numbers managed to find number 41. Not a single one. All of them got the other 5 numbers.
If any single one of those 4,082 players had picked out 41 as part of his/her line they would have been the sole winner of the jackpot. But they didn’t.
That might not be as strange as it seems. The number 41 is one that an awful lot of players avoid. Research conducted by people who take a serious interest in these matters reveals that 41, 43 and 46 have for many years been the least popular numbers amongst Lotto players….
My rules for winning big….
There are some other unpopular numbers too. The numbers 50 to 59 that were added to the Lotto set last year….
Many Lotto players are adverse to the idea of abandoning numbers they have always played on the Lotto. You can understand that. Imagine the pain of abandoning the regular numbers you have played for 20 years – and then watching them come in. That’s a heartbreak scenario many players will simply not allow to happen.
What that means is that lines containing more of the unpopular higher numbers are lines that stand out from the crowd. In the event of those numbers being drawn there is far less chance of multiple winning tickets. People playing those numbers are statistically less likely to have to share big payouts with other players….
According to expert lottery analysts, Lotto players don’t generally like playing consecutive numbers either. And now with 59 numbers to choose from, selection of consecutives numbers as part of a line is much less likely.
So I think we have the makings of a lottery-winning strategy…. Or, at the very least, we can tilt the odds in our favor….
- Avoid numbers in obvious patterns (multiples of 7, for example) and avoid filling in lottery slips where the boxes you tick form an obvious pattern. Thousands of players are doing exactly the same thing….
- Think high – the higher numbers are the least popular and tickets containing those numbers will face least competition for jackpot prizes if or when they are drawn. You don’t have to go all high. But including plenty of high numbers on a line separates you from the herd. Nobody was born on the 52nd of May. And birthday numbers dominate hundreds of thousands of entries.
- Don’t be frightened of including consecutive numbers on your lines. Avoiding consecutives is irrational. The draw machine has no memory. 41 following 40 is as likely as 6 following the 40 ball out. Consecutives help separate you from the competition.
However you play the lottery, winning the jackpot is still more likely to remain a dream than to become a reality. But observe the three simple rules above and you guarantee yourself a better chance of winning a big payout than most.
It’s something to ponder as we settle back into the normality of a working week….
I’ll be back with more on Friday.
All the best,