savings

3 Better Investments Than Powerball

Buying Powerball and Mega Millions tickets is no substitute for sound financial planning.

The odds of winning the lottery are astronomically long. Yet, the allure of pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars can tempt even the staunchest penny pincher. While there's no harm in playing your lucky numbers every now and again, coming down with a serious case of lottery fever can prove costly.

Consider this: A $20-a-week lottery habit adds up to $1,040 over the course of a year. Suddenly, we're talking real money. Here are three better ways to use that cash than buying lottery tickets.

Contribute to a 401(k)

Why not contribute to your retirement savings account at work, instead? If you have an extra $1,040 to spare, then put that money to work for you in your retirement account. Investing an extra $86.67 a month (which is what $1,040 breaks down to over 12 months) in a 401(k) over 20 years costs you $20,801, but after two decades the account balance will be $49,632, assuming an 8% annual return and a 25% tax bracket. If your company matches 401(k) contributions, as many do, the balance will grow even faster.

Open a Roth IRA

If you’re already maxing out your retirement account at work, then open a Roth IRA. By investing $1,040 in a fund that earns a 7% annual return, in 30 years you’ll have nearly $106,000. And you can withdraw your earnings tax-free after you turn 59 1/2.

Make an extra mortgage payment

Lastly, consider increasing your mortgage payments. Say, you’ve got a $200,000 mortgage at 4% over 30 years. That works out to a monthly payment of $955 excluding taxes and insurance. You’ll pay about $144,000 in interest alone over the term of the mortgage. By paying an extra $1,040 a year, you’ll save almost $24,000 in interest and retire your loan four years early.

Check out 14 more smart ways to spend or invest $1,000.

Most Popular

Refunds for $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break to Begin This Month
Coronavirus and Your Money

Refunds for $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break to Begin This Month

The IRS will start issuing automatic refunds sometime in May to people eligible for the unemployment benefit tax exemption.
May 1, 2021
Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs
Coronavirus and Your Money

Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs

People have lots of questions about the new $3,000 or $3,600 child tax credit and the advance payments that the IRS will send to most families in 2021…
May 4, 2021
10 Dividend Growth Stocks You Can Count On
dividend stocks

10 Dividend Growth Stocks You Can Count On

What should investors prioritize in dividend growth stocks? A history of aggressive payout expansion, and the ability to generate enough cash to keep …
May 3, 2021

Recommended

9 Tax Deadlines for May 17 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)
tax deadline

9 Tax Deadlines for May 17 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)

Between due dates for extension requests, IRA or HSA contributions, and other deadlines, there's more to do by May 17 than just filing your federal in…
May 4, 2021
Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class
Tax Breaks

Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class

Your retirement contributions could be the key to a lower tax bill.
May 3, 2021
The Benefits of Working Longer
Empty Nesters

The Benefits of Working Longer

Delaying retirement for a couple of years—or even a few months—is the most effective way to improve your retirement security.
April 29, 2021
Biden Hopes to Eliminate Stepped-Up Basis for Millionaires
Tax Breaks

Biden Hopes to Eliminate Stepped-Up Basis for Millionaires

As part of his American Families Plan, President Biden wants to change the way capital assets are taxed when you die.
April 28, 2021