Driving to work this morning, the fine folks on 1180 WHAM were sharing their thoughts on what they would do with the estimated jackpot of $500 million should their numbers be called. It got me thinking. Did you know that that you have a better chance of picking a perfect NCAA tournament bracket or becoming President than winning the jackpot? Let's say you do win. After the cash payout and taxes, your sum has been more than cut in half, but with some $200,000,000 in your pocket, you're still a happy camper, even though studies have shown that you may not be as happy as you think.

Enough fun, here's my point: Instead of taking a shot at something that is less than likely to happen, why not replace that hope with tax-free income when you're ready to retire? Here's how:

Funding a Roth IRA allows you that benefit, and you don't need to win Powerball to start one. Many mutual funds will allow you to start a Roth for as little as $50 each month. That's $600 over the course of a year. Not a huge amount by any means, but consider: if you started today with $50 each month, and continued for each month over the next 30 years, you will have invested $18,000 over that period. If you earn 5% over that time, 30 years from now your investment will have grown to $41,856 - a return on your original investment of 132%. And if you should need access to your cash in the meantime, your contributions come back to you tax-free, as do your earnings, if you wait until you're 59 1/2 .

Something to think about if you find yourself with a little extra time while waiting to pick up a Powerball ticket.

Chuck Wade

(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).