I’m so sad that someone won the $2 billion lottery this week. Not because I thought I would win. From what I hear the odds of winning were (a) virtually the same, whether you bought a ticket or not, or (b) slightly worse than the odds of getting hit by lightning while being eaten by a shark! People complain that the lottery is a tax on the poor. Others counter that it buys people a little bit of hope. I have a different theory. I can turn a $2 (losing) lottery ticket into millions of dollars of virtual gifts and goodwill. What’s the first thing everyone does as soon as the ticket is in their wallet? They start planning how they are going to spend all that money – vacations, savings, impulse buys, paying off family and friends’ debts, buying grandpa new teeth, donating to charities, etc.). Great ideas. The problem is that they don’t tell enough people about their intended largesse. If you want to get a bang for your two bucks you have to tell everyone you know about your plans to change their financial life. You see, it doesn’t matter if you don’t win, they feel good knowing you cared enough about them to include them in your windfall. It’s kind of like inviting friends over for dinner on a night you know they can’t come. They are flattered that you asked, you don’t actually have to entertain, and now they “owe” you an invite. So, I don’t think I lost $2. I think I gained millions of dollars in virtual IOUs. Or, just maybe, one of those friends will win the lottery and remember my selfless generosity.