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A Lottery to make Money? How to become Financially Healthy

A Lottery to make Money? How to become Financially Healthy

This should better not be your strategy to make money: hoping you will win the lottery. You might succeed, but chances are way higher you won’t. My son used to say: “Hope is postponed fear”.

Don’t think I was above it. I too participated in some lotteries in the past. The trickiest one was a lottery in the Netherlands based on your zip code. Can you imagine what that meant? In my memory it was even communicated in their ads, but I have to admit I am not sure of that.

“Think what will happen if your neighbors win the lottery to make money, and you are left out, because you have no ticket!”


They call it FOMO nowadays. Fear Of Missing Out. It is exactly why they did an appeal on that, of course.

I even remember the moment I decided I didn’t want to be bothered by this FOMO anymore. We were visiting my mother-in-law and heard that the evening before the lottery landed in their block, where only old people lived.

The lottery employees had gone out of their way to find people who hadn’t bought a ticket and asked leading questions. “Surely you are sorry you haven’t won anything now?” And they were surprised to hear the answer that, no, they didn’t mind. Why would a 90-year old mind?

One of the neighbors was on her sickbed dying and did have a ticket. The lottery was an automated, monthly one. She nor her family was even interested in the money at that moment, as you can imagine.

El Gordo

A lottery to make money?

In Spain lotteries are huge. You can buy them everywhere: in the small kiosks on every corner of the street, from the (usually handicapped) people that roam the terraces and restaurants, in the tobaccos and even from the presidente of our neighborhood association.

The biggest one is El Gordo, the fat one, which is a Christmas lottery. The prize money is about 2 billion euros. One ticket costs €200, although you can buy a tenth of a ticket. It seems almost the whole of Spain is glued to the television screen when the result is announced.

Ever since the lottery was won by a woman who would have loved to buy her health with it and couldn’t, we are not too fond of lotteries anymore. And we don’t have a television either. So our December 22nd is always peaceful and quiet. 🙂

Financial IQ

Most lottery winners are back to square one after 5 years. And that’s for the same reason why most people that receive a salary raise have not more money left on their bank at the end of the month. They are not educated in dealing with money.

It’s also called “One gig away from broke”. Lots of artists and sportsmen suffer from that. If something unexpected happens, and that next gig is off, disaster strikes. As we unfortunately have witnessed during the COVID-pandemic as well.

This is one of the major achievements of Johan Cruyff. Apart from his amazing football career, he founded the Johan Cruyff Academy to teach sports professionals how to handle their money and how to prepare for a life after their sports career.

Plan to be financially healthy – do the boring stuff

Plan to be financially healthy

To get a grip on your financial situation you have to know what comes in and what goes out. That is the simple truth #1. And truth #2 is even simpler: don’t spend more than you earn.


And yes, it is boring to discover your financial situation, because you have to be a precise bookkeeper. Once you have written down all income and expenses for a year, you can look at the trend.

  • What are truly necessary expenses;
  • Is there an area where you spend lots of money;
  • Can you decrease some expenses?

Of course, it doesn’t matter whether you write it by hand in a notebook or use one of the many apps that are available to note your figures.

Make room for your dreams

There is also a fun part of this bookkeeping: write down your dreams. Make it a fantasy. If you had all the money in the world how would your life look now.

When you have done that, you can hang price tags on each thing you have listed. Compare it with your present financial situation. Is there a way to work towards your dreams?

Investing is better

The difference between a dream and a goal is having a plan

To pick up the story about the lottery again – one ticket of El Gordo costs €200. Not everybody spends that amount. The average amount people spend is €70.

The chance you win if you buy a whole ticket is 1 in 100.000. I am no star in probability calculation, I just assume it’s less if you don’t buy a whole ticket.

Had you invested that €70 every year with a conservative interest income of 3% for 40 years you would have had €5.208. Meaning you would nearly have doubled your investment.

Plan to be financially healthy

You can argue that an amount of €5.000+ in 40 years time is not very much. And if you planned on having your dream house when you retire it’s hardly the amount you need.

My point here is, that once you start planning your money instead of hoping for the best, you work actively on getting a financially healthy state. It will change your attitude towards money.

The difference between a dream and a goal is having a plan

An extra word of advice for us women

Our generation is way more self-supporting than our mothers’ generation. Still, there is something to consider. Since women usually marry men that are older it’s more likely they will be a widow at some point. Will you still be able to sustain your lifestyle in the unfortunate event this happens?

Although it’s not a nice job, try to figure out beforehand how your financial status will be. Better yet, do it for the both of you.

You can get more information about that in this article: Do Women love Money?

By the way, I hope it was a coincidence, but while writing this article I got an email from a Spanish lottery whether I wanted to be an affiliate! ROFLOL

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10 thoughts on “A Lottery to make Money? How to become Financially Healthy”

  1. The system of buying lottery tickets at every street corner and every store, and even from vendors on the streets or at traffic lights in Spain is exactly the same here in Mexico. Here, you can also buy lottery tickets everywhere … I wonder if this has come about due to Spain’s past influence here …

    I had never heard of lotteries that were based on your zip code. I actually played the lottery only once in my life. With a group of friends we split the costs of a ticket, this was a long time ago, I think we didn’t win. After that, I was never tempted to buy lottery tickets, it just never spoke to me.

    I have no savings, and it worries me sometimes. I don’t want to worry about money, because that’s not the right attitude either, and I still own my land, which is a great investment. I still have to finish building my house, but this year I am going to start saving, either cash or with a savings account. That is my New Year’s resolution 🙂

    • Hi Christine, I am not sure either if that’s a Spanish mentality or something else. There are a lot of sales points in the Netherlands as well, just not in those kiosks like in Mexico and Spain. There they sell them in the tobacco stores. All the bad habits combines in one plan, seems fitting to me. 😉

      There are several strategies for saving you can follow, Christine. The disadvantage of saving cash is, that you will be tempted to use it when it is convenient. The advantage is of course that it is quite easy to put some coins in a glass jar or a piggy bank. So you could start by putting all the coins in a jar that are in your purse at the end of the day.

      What worked the best for us and still is our method, is having a direct debit to our savings account and to our investment account. If you start very small you’ll hardly notice you have less money to spend. The advantage of a savings account is, that it is harder to get the money any moment you are tempted.

      One way or another: congratulations on your resolution!!

  2. Thanks so much for the tips. I started playing lottery only a year ago. But I didn’t realize that I was spending more money than what I was actually earning. I’m not so educated in dealing with money to be honest, and now I’m realizing my mistakes reading your article.

    I’m also thinking about quitting because I’m a bit addicted LOL. Do you have any tips to stop this addiction? Also, You mentioned your recommendation for achieving financial freedom is affiliate marketing. Can you tell me a bit more about that too?

    By the way I saw you mentioned Johan Cruyff, he is one of my favorite football players of all times. I didn’t know he founded an academy to teach sports professionals how to handle their money. That’s great.

    I’ve really learned so much here.

    Waiting to the reply to my questions.


    • Hi Warren, it makes me so happy if our articles inspire people. Kudos to you that you want to get a hold of your money matters. Not that money will make you happy, but not having to worry about it, surely will.

      Have a look at my reply to Christime about saving money, Warren. Maybe you can try whenever you are inclined to spend on a lottery ticket to put that money in a piggy bank. Feeling that piggy getting heavier every time is a great stimulation to continue.

      You could download our free ebook about handling your money in a healthy way. The information is aimed at pensioners, but is also useful for people that aren’t there yet, but want to be financial healthy when they retire.

      An article on this website is called Earn a Side Income as a Pensioner – Become an Affiliate. Again, I think you are a lot younger than we are, but you’ll read what an affiliate marketer is.

      Yes, Johan Cruyff was marvelous in that regard. His father in law was a business man and surely had a great influence on him. And Johan saw too many fellow players broke after they ended their soccer career. If you are interested in reading more about it: Johan Cruyff Institute.

      Thanks for the great questions and I wish you all the success you are entitled to. 🙂

  3. Great article, Hannie.
    I agree the first place to start is by reducing expenses wherever you can.
    I also agree that making sound investments should be a priority when we are working so when we retire we can draw an income from those investments.

    Part of a solid retirement plan should also be at least one source of residual income.
    I have found a lot of people don’t give any thought to how they can establish residual income and I believe it is something that needs to be taught more.

    Here in Canada, we work with a financial planner who helps us make investment decisions. Do you have financial planners/advisors in Spain or anywhere in Europe for that matter?

    Kudos to you for suggesting women get involved in their family finances. We need to understand how to finance our household in the event we need to become the financial decision-maker for our household. Too many times I have seen friends who became widowed and did not understand what needed to be paid and when and they had such a hard time. This could have been easily prevented by just learning about finances beforehand. Thanks again for this informative article. Take care.

    • Hi Deb, so glad you liked my information. I think working on a residual income is all the more important now the economies are underpressure because of all the lockdowns. So you are absolutely right in that regard.

      In the Netherlands there are a lot of financial planners. I guess they’re here in Sppain as well, but I haven’t noticed yet. I see a lot of ads that are aimed at the financial affairs of expats, which makes sense with all the foreign pensioners and workforce living here.

      My experiences with hired financial planners are unfortunately not well, which made me hesitant about them, understandably. They didn’t handle in my interest or delved into what my real wishes were. So I educated myself through seminars and books. I am sure there will be ethical and capable advisors. I just haven’t met them.

      Yes, awful, isn’t it. I too have several friends that are totally at a loss, not just emotionally, but on top of that financially as well. It is so easy to say to yourself or to others “Oh, I let him handle the money, I don’t have a head for numbers”. But it’s not sensible.

      • I am sorry to hear you have had bad experiences with financial planners.

        Years ago we had a really great one and coincidentally his name was Tom. Anyways, he helped us put together a great portfolio that served us well.

        We are now working with another financial planner as we are now focusing on tax and estate planning which are also key things to consider.

        It really is heartwrenching to watch our friends struggle when it so easily could have been avoided with a little knowledge.

        • The worst part of one of the bad experiences was, Deb, that it was a family member! That made it even harder to accept, because we trusted him blindly. Our fault, but still…

  4. Hey Hannie,

    Admittely, I’ve never been a one for doing the lottery, but I’ll have a punt every now-and-then (you never know, LOL).

    That being said, I did get sucked in a little when the National Lottery was first introduced in the UK in 1994.

    I paid for two lottery tickets, so at the time this cost just £2, and I won £10 for the first 6 weeks in a row.

    So, my £12 investment netted me £60.

    Coming from a financial background, my mind was spinning with the potential returns, suffice to say I didn’t win anything again for the next year, Hahaha.

    I actually went over 10 years without ever participating, and yet new lottery games were being invented month-after-month.

    We too have the Postcode Lottery over here, but I’ve never taken part.

    I have to agree with you that “looking to win big” is no way to look at making a sustainable income, and you’re right, even just investing what you would typically pay for regular lottery tickets will more than likely yield a better return.

    I know there are people who play the lottery ever single week, and multiple times, but it’s not something I’ll ever do.

    However, I do note that we have our midweek lottery tonight, so having read this, I’ll probably invest a few pounds tonight, just on the off-chance.

    If I win nothing, I’ll blame you, LOL.


    • Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it, Partha? Our national lottery is called the Staatsloterij. Tom participated in that one years ago and guess what? The first year he won the cost of the ticket or a bit more almost every month. And that “beginner’s luck” stopped after that.

      Oh oh, so now I am to blame to inspiring you to take part in the lottery. Typical poor man’s mind, blaming others, LOL.

      My father played the Soccer Toto and had promised us – his 3 children – we would get the money if he won anything. After quite some time he won ƒ800 and he thought it was too difficult to divide ƒ800 by 3, ROFLOL. So he chipped in another ƒ100 and gave us all ƒ300. It has been one of the stories he kept telling over and over, complaining that even when he had won it had cost him money. 😀


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