Friday’s Mega Millions lottery jackpot has reached an estimated $1.1 billion, marking only the third time in history that the lottery prize has crossed the billion-dollar mark.
But before you rush out and buy a ticket, understand that the odds are stacked against you. In fact, your chances of winning the jackpot are roughly 1 in 303 million.
How unlikely is that? Following are several events where the odds are much better than winning the lottery.
1. Becoming a millionaire
Your odds of becoming a millionaire depend on various factors, including your age and education level. Another influential factor is race, according to numbers that the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis ran for Bloomberg in 2016.
For example, here are odds of becoming a millionaire by race for a middle-aged, college-educated American:
- Asian: 22.3% (about 1 in 5)
- White: 21.5% (about 1 in 5)
- Hispanic: 6.8% (about 1 in 15)
- Black: 6.4% (about 1 in 16)
Want to improve your odds? Start by reading “The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire,” written by Money Talks News founder and self-made millionaire Stacy Johnson.
2. Being struck by lightning
If you live to age 80, the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 15,300, according to the National Weather Service. Your odds of being struck by lightning in any given year are much worse — about 1 in 1.2 million — but still much better than your odds of hitting Friday’s jackpot.
3. Getting a hole-in-one
An amateur golfer’s odds of getting a hole-in-one on a par 3 hole are roughly 1 in 12,500, according to US Hole In One, a company that provides hole-in-one insurance for golf events. For a professional golfer, the odds of making the same ace are around 1 in 2,500.
4. Being killed in a shark attack
Your lifetime odds of dying in a shark attack are about 1 in 4.3 million.
5. Having identical twins
Identical-twin pregnancies account for 0.45% of all pregnancies. That translates to about 1 in 250.
Identical twins are more common in pregnancies conceived with fertility treatment, accounting for 0.95% of such pregnancies.
6. Drawing a royal flush
Your odds of getting a royal flush — that is, a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit — in a poker game are 1 in 649,740.
For a flush — any five cards of the same suit — your odds are about 1 in 509.
7. Bowling a perfect game
For the average bowler, the odds of rolling a 300 game are 1 in 11,500. For a pro bowler, they are 1 in 460.