Went to the Cootamundra Races a couple of years ago. Wonderful stuff. Took the children. It is never too early to introduce your offspring to gambling, fashion and alcohol.

The excuse for the trip was to give a talk to some investors, clients of a good friend. I was looking forward to it. There’s something settling about bush clients, they are tough and honest, they know what it’s like to take a loss and they never take luck for granted because they know only too well it will not last.

In the weeks before I spent hours putting together a simply enthralling PowerPoint presentation punctuated with stunningly interesting financial content. Confident of my dazzling work replete with fade-through-black slide transitions. I somewhat arrogantly asked my host the night before, “What do you want me to tell them?” My perfectly polished presentation was not ready for the reply. “Just tell them how to make money, Marcus.”

She was right. No one wants bullshit transitions. They want to know how to make money and in the words of Jesse Livermore (born 1877) “The average man doesn’t wish to be told that it is a bull or a bear market. What he desires is to be told specifically which particular stock to buy or sell. He wants to get something for nothing. He does not wish to work. He doesn’t even wish to have to think”.

Six hours later I had I nailed it. Livermore would have been proud. Three failsafe ways to wealth. Three guaranteed routes to riches. Here they are. Remember me in your wills.

One. Be born rich.

Two. Marry rich.

Three. Win the Lotto.

The first one is the best. It requires no effort at all. The drawback is that it can be very disappointing when you get it wrong. Especially when someone less able than yourself happens to get it right.

No. 2 may look like it requires effort and to some will suggest compromise but it is not necessarily so. Simply follow these Darwinian principles and it shall all be yours. When faced with two equally attractive and appropriate mating partners, pick the rich one and, if you cannot determine their wealth, pick the one whose parents drive a European car. Only through these simple guidelines will you will one day find the French Riviera boring.

No. 3 seems difficult but you will see from the description that it does emphasise that you do have to “win” the Lotto. Otherwise the Lotto is simply a very poor investment. Eight dollars a week for 50 years is $20,800. But eight dollars a week with each eight dollars compounding daily at a pro rata 9 per cent per annum for 50 years is $446,024. A lot of financial opportunity gone.

Your chances of winning the most popular Lotto pick are about 1 in 1.02 million. Fifty years of weekly participation narrows your chances of a group 1 win to one in 49 but if someone else gets your numbers you will have to share. So a tip on that. The most popular numbers are 7, 40, 36, 32, 5 and 8. The least popular 44, 16, 30, 11, 18, 9.

The real value of Lotto is not in the winning, it is in the hope. Many decades of theory have distilled happiness down to the expectation of an improvement in your standard of living. Not an actual improvement, just the “expectation”. On that basis, the Lotto ticket has tremendous value even without a win. It gives you hope and it has to be said, for many Australians, that is enough. A week’s worth of happiness for eight dollars. I’ll buy that. My wife already does.

If you can’t manage to pull any of this off, then you’re in with the rest of us. Doing it hard in the sharemarket. Ho hum.

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