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Don’t gamble on the National Lottery — here’s how I plan to make a million the easy way

Many people religiously play the National Lottery every week, hoping to strike it rich, beat the odds, and win a life-changing amount of money. 

Unfortunately, the chances of doing so are unbelievably slim. Apparently, the odds of winning are just 1 in 45m. On those odds, you’re much more likely to become prime minister of the UK than win the National Lottery. 

With that being the case, today I’m going to explain why gambling on the National Lottery is a waste of time and explain the approach I’m using to make a million before I retire. 

Slow and steady 

It costs £2 to play the National Lottery, which gives you six numbers. You can pick seven sets of six figures to play online, which gives a total cost of £14. There are two draws a week, so if you play seven sets of six twice a week, that’s a total cost of £28. 

Such a total outlay a week might not seem like much but, over time, the balance adds up. According to my figures, £28 a week means you’ll be spending £1,456 a year!

If you were to invest this money in a low-cost FTSE 250 tracker fund, (an average annual return of 9% per annum for the past two decades) I calculate you could build a savings pot of £23,400 after 10 years.  Keep saving for 20 years, and you could end up with savings of nearly £80,000. After 40 years, this pot would be worth £545,000! 

Targeting a million 

It only takes a small amount of saving every week to build a million-pound savings pot. So how much will you need to save every week to hit this target? 

According to my calculations, you’d need to put away £230 a month at an annual rate of return of 9% for 40 years to make a million. This works out at £53 a week, or £7.60 a day.  

If you have a long time to save, it is easier to make a million as compounding does all the hard work for you. But what if you’ve not got 40 years to save? 

Well, unfortunately, you’ll have to put away a bit more, but it’s still possible to make a million. If you want to make that amount in two decades, according to my calculations, you will need to put away £1,500 a month (with an annual rate of return of 9%). This is around £346 a week, or just under £50 a day. 

Personally, I am aiming to make a million by the time I retire, which gives me around 30 years. Over this time horizon, I calculate I need to invest £550 a month, or £127 a week to hit the target. 

The bottom line

So overall, playing the National Lottery might seem like the easy way to make a million, but it’s more likely you’re wasting your hard-earned money by doing so.

That’s why I’m investing my money to make a million. It might take some time, but by using this tried and tested method, you won’t end up gambling your money away.

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Rupert Hargreaves owns no share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.