You didn’t win the lottery, so what now? Invest in yourself

Three people are newly-minted millionaires after Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing.

Chances are you’re not one of them.

But no need to worry, there’s still ways you can make your jackpot dreams come true although it may take a little longer than you’d like.

“The big thing with financial planning is to take a step back and assess your entire situation, so you want to think about where am I at today and where do I want to be?” said Certified Financial Planner Lauren Lyons Cole.

Cole says it IS possible to achieve a few of those things we all dream about doing if we struck it rich.

“I play the Powerball in order to help my family man.  Take care of my financial problems,” said Luke Gedeon, of Brooklyn

While many people struggling paycheck to paycheck may turn to the lottery hoping it’s a quick fix to their debt problems, Cole says you’re better off putting that money to good use to pay off your debt with a long term plan.

“When you’re tight on cash it’s really important not to waste a dollar here or a dollar there.  You want to take a step back and look at what money are you actually bringing in each month.  And then be realistic with yourself.  Think what are the expenses you can cut back on and where you might want to prioritize spending.  I guarantee you lottery tickets are not that place.”

Many people say they would have used their winnings to travel around the world.  But Cole says accomplishing that goal might actually be more affordable than you think if you can find some simple ways to cut the big expenses.

“So traveling is a great way to spend money, obviously, but most of your spending is going to go towards airfare or transportation costs and hotel or accommodation costs.  So if you can figure out how to get those prices cut down really low, like go somewhere where you know someone you can stay with or save on airfare by buying two months in advance those sorts of tips are good when you’re trying to travel on a budget.”

And finally Cole says the best inexpensive investment to make those dreams come true is to invest in you.

“The lottery really isn’t the right answer.  You’d be so much better served by reading a book about negotiating skills, or preparing yourself for a new career that’s going to pay more.  Any way that you can increase your earning potential is such a better bet than playing the lottery.”

But some dreamers say they’re just not willing to wait that long for the investment to pay off.  So most lottery players we spoke to say they’re long term strategy will remain the same.

“Just continue playing man, continue playing until I win.”

No matter how bad the odds may be.

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