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chances of winning the lottery in your lifetime

What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery?

How to Improve Your Luck

Tanya Constantine / Getty Images

More than a third of Americans believe winning the lottery is the only way they will ever retire comfortably. But the odds of winning either the Powerball or Mega Millions are roughly 1 in 292.2 million and 1 in 302.5 million, respectively.    

Compare these odds to some other unlikely scenarios and consider whether there might be a more foolproof way to cement your financial future. Strategies that are more likely to win you a bountiful retirement don’t depend on blind luck—just discipline.

Things That Are More Likely Than Winning the Lottery

Just how likely is it that you’ll hit it big in the lottery? Well, the odds are much worse than the probability of your death as a result of one of these:

  • Plane crash: 11 million to one  
  • Car accident: 106 to one  
  • Falling out of bed: 2 million to one  
  • Flesh-eating bacteria: 1 million to one  
  • Lightning strike: 1.2 million to one  
  • Dog mauling: 118,776 to one  
  • Snakebite: 50 million to one  
  • Shark attack: 3.75 million to one  

Turns out swimming with the sharks is safer than petting a dog, driving your car, or sleeping in your bed.

If these statistics have you feeling a little paranoid, cheer up. Many good things are also more likely to happen than winning the lottery. For example, the odds of getting a royal flush in the first hand of poker are just 649,739 to one.  

To put it all into perspective, consider this. Scientists calculated in 2004 that there was a 60-to-one chance that asteroid 2004 MN4 would strike the Earth on April 13, 2029. The asteroid is about a quarter-mile wide—larger than the asteroid that carved out Meteor Crater in Arizona.   And it was still more likely to hit the planet than you were to hit the jackpot.

Fortunately for Earth-dwellers, scientists revised their predictions for the asteroid; it’s no longer predicted to hit Earth at all, just skim very close.   Your chances of winning the lottery are equally as slim.

How to Improve Your Odds of Winning

If you’ve read all these statistics, and still want to play the lottery, here are some ways to improve your chances. First, use the computer-generated numbers because they tend to be the luckiest, and there is less chance of someone else picking a duplicate number. Whatever you do, don’t pick “lucky” seven, 11, or a birthday; you can be sure that someone else will have also picked those numbers.

Also, be sure to play the $1 million or $2 million second prize in the Powerball, where you only have to match five of the six numbers. Those odds are one out of 11.6 million.   You get even better odds if you just play in the state lotteries instead of the national one.

How to Improve Your Chances of Attaining Retirement

If you are one of those who consider the lottery their best chance of retiring, consider this comparison instead: Let’s say you buy a $2 lottery ticket every week for 20 years. There is little likelihood, based on the odds, that you would have won.

If you instead invested that $2 a week in securities and got a 5% return, you would have accumulated $3,528. It may not sound like much, but if you invested $2 a day instead, you would wind up with $24,663 after 20 years. The average stock market return is 10% a year; if you got that rate of return over 20 years, then your $2 a day would become $43,721.   That may not be enough to retire on, but if you increased it to $5 a day, you’d wind up with $109,283. $10 a day would get you $218,553. Now you’re talking.

The point is that you do have better odds for a successful retirement if you plan for it than by playing the lottery. You don’t have to depend on fate, chance, or luck. You can take matters into your own hands, starting today.

What are your odds of winning the lottery? Less likely than being hit by lighting, but more likely than getting killed by a shark.

What Are The Chances Of Winning The Lottery In Your Lifetime

Do you play the lottery or lotto every week? Want to know the chances of winning the jackpot at some point in your lifetime? The read on…

One of the most common questions we get asked is “What are the chances that I’ll win the lottery/lotto jackpot in my lifetime/before I die?”. The answer is going to depend on a couple of factors – how old you are, how long you are expected to live, and how many lottery tickets you buy each week.

The table below should give you an approximate indication of your chances of winning at some point in your life, based on your age and number of tickets you buy each week. A chance of 1 in 1,000 means that for every thousand people we expect (on average) one of them to win at some point.

The data has the following assumptions:

  1. The same number of lottery tickets are bought every week
  2. Lottery tickets are purchased every week
  3. The average life expectancy is approximately 80 years.
Number of Tickets Purchased Per Week (Odds are 1 in…)
Age 1
2 3 4
18 4337 2169 1446 1084
19 4409 2204 1470 1102
20 4482 2241 1494 1120
21 4558 2279 1519 1139
22 4637 2318 1546 1159
23 4718 2359 1573 1179
24 4802 2401 1601 1201
25 4889 2445 1630 1222
26 4980 2490 1660 1245
27 5074 2537 1691 1268
28 5172 2586 1724 1293
29 5273 2636 1758 1318
30 5378 2689 1793 1345
31 5488 2744 1829 1372
32 5602 2801 1867 1401
33 5722 2861 1907 1430
34 5846 2923 1949 1462
35 5976 2988 1992 1494
36 6112 3056 2037 1528
37 6254 3127 2085 1563
38 6403 3201 2134 1601
39 6559 3280 2186 1640
40 6723 3361 2241 1681
41 6895 3448 2298 1724
42 7077 3538 2359 1769
43 7268 3634 2423 1817
44 7470 3735 2490 1867
45 7683 3842 2561 1921
46 7909 3955 2636 1977
47 8149 4075 2716 2037
48 8404 4202 2801 2101
49 8675 4337 2892 2169
50 8964 4482 2988 2241
51 9273 4637 3091 2318
52 9604 4802 3201 2401
53 9960 4980 3320 2490
54 10343 5172 3448 2586
55 10757 5378 3586 2689
56 11205 5602 3735 2801
57 11692 5846 3897 2923
58 12224 6112 4075 3056
59 12806 6403 4269 3201
60 13446 6723 4482 3361
61 14154 7077 4718 3538
62 14940 7470 4980 3735
63 15819 7909 5273 3955
64 16807 8404 5602 4202
65 17928 8964 5976 4482
66 19209 9604 6403 4802
67 20686 10343 6895 5172
68 22410 11205 7470 5602
69 24447 12224 8149 6112
70 26892 13446 8964 6723
71 29880 14940 9960 7470
72 33615 16807 11205 8404
73 38417 19209 12806 9604
74 44820 22410 14940 11205
75 53784 26892 17928 13446
76 67230 33615 22410 16807
77 89640 44820 29880 22410
78 134460 67230 44820 33615
79 268920 134460 89640 67230

So if you are 30 years old and purchase one ticket per week, the chance that you will win the lottery at some point in your life is 1 in 5378. Feeling lucky?

What Are The Chances Of Winning The Lottery In Your Lifetime Do you play the lottery or lotto every week? Want to know the chances of winning the jackpot at some point in your lifetime? The read