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Author: spl241 Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 465413  
Subject: Re: Gambling Date: 1/27/2005 9:16 AM
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Good morning, Rodger. I see we have at least two things in common: we are both teachers--I just retired-- and we both "play the market" on a limited basis. You wrote a great post. My reply will enlarge the issue as well as reflect, I admit, a more liberal position about gambling.

First, I owe you a few concessions. Gambling addiction has proliferated and lives have been adversely affected. (Your example of your student's father's suicide due to gambling debt is horrifically touching.) Also like you, I don't see "schools winning, too." Before going into retirement a week ago, I don't recall a single material addition to my high school which enabled someone to proclaim: "Look at 'that.' ________ (fill in blank..) is now ours courtesy of the IN state lottery."

<...lottery...I tell people it's a tax on people who are bad at math.>

I regard it more as a tax on people who make bad personal choices. True, maybe some of these people don't turn over the tix and see the printed odds and configurate them. Most people have fixed expenses. It's up to them to know when the mortgage, electric bill (etc.) are due and IF--considering that--they can still afford gambling in its various forms.

I'll stick my personal neck out for a moment with some qualifications. I won $150 on a scratch-off Bingo ticket just yesterday. I bought this tic minutes after mailing in quarterly insurance and my license plate renewal form. That's not financial sainthood-- only prioritizing. IOW, I first separated $400+ of pain from a few moments of anticipated pleasure. When a little discretionary "blow money" was left, I got lucky. :-)

<...What we are doing in stock/bond markets is gambling, despite rhetoric about saving/planning for retirement.>

If we're acting on "hot tips," what the talking heads on CNBC say, and the other many forms of non-due diligence, then yes. I've always regarded success in the market like raising my daughters: both involve/involved hellish work. Someone once said, "Sometimes life's real risks are not taking any risks."

Finally, you said:

<...profits I make come at the expense of the poor victims of the system..>

(Do you use sponges to staunch the flow from your bleeding heart?) Give yourself some credit, f' gosh sakes! I suggest that most of your profits came at the "expense" of time and research. They also probably came concurrent with knowledge that others were not acting as responsibly.

I'm glad that I live in the United States of America, where the 50 states offer us a chance to be lottery-stupid. We can also be alcohol-stupid, cigarette-stupid, and a host of other "stupids." We have temptations which could lead to lots of bad choices. That, in itself, I regard as a form of freedom which necessitates responsibility on my part.

Now go teach those first-graders something today.
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