More than $2.2 billion is on the table ahead of this week's Mega Millions and Powerball drawings, and people are losing their minds. Dozens of articles purport to have "tips" for beating the odds, while other websites offer "advice" for winners.
Most of the advice is very bad, because, I'm sorry, you are absolutely not going to win.
The odds of chancing upon the six-number combination to win the Mega Millions $1.6 billion jackpot is 1 in 302.6 million, while your chances of winning the $620 million Powerball are only marginally better, at 1 in 292 million. The chance of winning both is 1 in 88 quadrillion, which yes, is a real number.
Read on for some of the worst, most boring advice for would-be lottery winners. And good luck — you're going to need a lot of it.
Worst advice for winning the lottery:
1. "Buy as many tickets as you can afford." [Fox News]
Do not do this.
2. "If you find a discarded lottery ticket, it's worth taking the time to double-check [if it's a winner]." [The Balance Everyday]
It won't be.
3. "Win a bigger payout by choosing rarer numbers." [The Balance Everyday]
This is not how statistics works.
4. "Everyone knows the lottery is a game of chance — but it seems there are certain numbers that are luckier than others." [New York Post]
5. "When all is said and done, using astrology to help select your lotto game numbers is probably just as good as any other system." [LottoSend.com]
Well, you're not wrong.
6. "When you play a lottery of multiple numbers, it is essential that you tie personal lucky numbers into the calendar day number that the lottery is drawn." [SmartCaptain App]
7. "If you are looking for help, talk with the Lord and recite any of these great prayers for winning the lottery." [ConnectUs]
8. "Just buy a ticket." [NJ.com]
That would be the place to start.
Worst advice for after you've won:
1. "Don't lose the damn ticket!" [The Mercury News]
If you win $1.6 billion, it is also advisable to avoid putting the winning ticket through the washing machine.
Call your mom first.
3. "Tell all your friends and relatives no. They will ask. Tell them no." [Mark Cuban]
Seriously, tell your mom. (Also: Thanks for weighing in, Mark Cuban?)
4. "You're going to get the attention, but don't bring it on to yourself. Don't be telling second cousins and such." [A financial planner via Newsday]
You just won $2.2 billion by beating 1 in 88 quadrillion odds. You get bragging rights. Make that Facebook post.
5. "Pay off all of your debts." [The Mercury News]
Live a little! Buy a pony, then deal with those student loans.
6. "It's very tempting to quit your job following a big win, but Costa advocates against it." [Boston.com]
Definitely quit your job.
7. "Anticipate taxes." [CNBC]
Generally, in life.
8. "Use your smarts." [The Mercury News]
Please, please, please ... do this all the time.