Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Should People Play The Lottery?

LotteryThe odds of winning the lottery are very long, and a person has more of a chance of being struck by lightning or falling airplane parts. Despite the statistical unlikelihood of ever winning about 57 percent of American adults spend up to $50 billion each year trying to win the lottery. The odds stay the same regardless of how many times a person plays because there is an independent probability of winning in each round. A person can improve their odds by purchasing more tickets in one single drawing. Most of the revenue that States draw from lotteries come from a small percentage of dedicated players. The lottery can be fun to play for the entertainment value, but it should not be viewed as a serious investment strategy.

See Jean Folger, The Lottery: Is it Ever Worth Playing?, Investopedia, January 12, 2016.

January 13, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Games | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Price (Plus Tax) Is Right


Contestants on The Price Is Right may win big but may also be unprepared for the hefty taxes owed before receiving their prizes.  Winners must pay California‚Äôs state income tax up front as well as federal income taxes.  If the prize is large enough, it could even bump you into a higher federal tax bracket.

According to Andrea Schwartz, who won a Mazda 2 compact car, she had to pay $2,500 in taxes before she could claim the car or end up forfeiting the prize.  Another contestant explains that once you get a call from the car dealership during the 90-day window, you only have 10 days to arrange the paperwork, pay the taxes, and go pick up your new car wherever the dealership may be. 

Schwartz also won a pool table and shuffle board table, which she had to pay money to store and ship to another location due to the small size of her apartment.  She had to sell the prizes because the show does not allow you to take the cash value of any prizes.  That includes extravagant vacations, which contestants must also pay sales and income taxes on or forfeit.

See Sarah B. Weir, The Price Is Right . . . and the Taxes Are High, Yahoo! Shine, Aug. 19, 2013.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.


August 25, 2013 in Games, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ballpark Economics

BaseballEconomics is not the first thought that comes to minds of millions of individuals who enjoy the great American pastime. However, economics has become the talk for analysts at ConvergEX Group. Their analysts determined that a correlation exists between consumer confidence and attendance, which is good news for investors if attendance increases by 3 to 5%, as predicted by Commissioner Bud Selig, in the upcoming season. Analysts from ConvergEx argue that baseball attendance has mirrored consumer confidence in the past too. Attendance declined at the beginning of the recent recession in 2007 and has steadily increased since 2008.

Based upon the predicted modest percentage increase in attendance during this current season, it is likely that the economy will also enjoy a modest recovery. What is the reason for this correlation? According to CNBC.com, it is likely based upon the demographics of the average baseball attendee. Most are upper-middle class, and are likely members of what one would consider the average American household. Therefore, how the average American feels about the economy is actually how the average baseball fan feels about the economy. Let's just hope that more and more Americans will decide to go out to the old ballgame this summer.

See John Melloy, Moneyball? MLB Attendance Signals Modest Recovery, CNBC.com, Apr. 5, 2012.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Attorney at law, Florida Probate Attorney Wills and Estates Law Firm) for bringing this article to my attention. 

April 18, 2012 in Games, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)