Sometime this weekend — just before midnight on Saturday, to be precise, quite literally at the eleventh hour — the next potentially winning combination in the Powerball lottery will be announced. The current jackpot stands at roughly $435 million, with a "cash value" (whatever that means) of $273.1 million. Maybe that's the after-tax payout? Maybe it doesn't really matter to the winner? What's a quarter of a billion dollars between sweaty-palmed suckers hoping to turn a multi-tens-of-dollars investment into a multimillion-dollar American Dream?
Yes, it's true that some poor schmuck does literally win the lottery from time to time. And no, it's almost certainly never going to be you, no matter how many $2-a-pop tickets you write off in the family budget column labeled "Foolish Investments So Unlikely to Pay Out That I Should Probably Just Light This Money on Fire." TestOut Continuing Education is located in Utah, one of six U.S. states that does not participate in Powerball, so people who want to participate must drive to Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, or Arizona to plunk down for tickets.
(Somewhat curiously, given its standing as both haven and hotspot of American gambling, Nevada, which shares Utah's entire western border, is a fellow non-participant.)
People who defend lottery participation typically point out that a) buying a ticket is all in good fun, and b) the tickets don't cost very much (a mere $2, as noted above), so who really cares about the money? There are better things to do with your money, however, and far better ways to make an investment in your future. For one thing, once a lottery ticket has been purchased, apart from crossing your fingers, wishing on a star, and maybe blowing the fluff off a dandelion, there's not a single thing you can do to improve your chances of winning.
What if, on the other hand, you were to invest in yourself? It costs a little more to buy a subscription to TestOut CE's world-class certification courseware than it does to snag a Powerball ticket. On the other hand, a one-time $79 purchase would only get you 39 Powerball tickets, which probably means you'd have about as much chance of ultimately winning as with just one. With our CompTIA A+, Network+, or Security+ training, you can lay the foundation of career that will pay off for decades.
Information technology (IT) is far, far more of a sure thing than Powerball. With solid IT skills, you can more or less count on having a job — one that pays well, at that, and probably offers pretty competitive benefits — for the rest of your life. A certification is a solid stepping stone to better employment, better education, and better self-esteem. People sometimes do get lucky. But people who use good sense, hard work, and commitment to make their own luck are almost always happier.
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