DEAR DAVE: How do you feel about gambling at a casino, as long as you limit your spending and don’t expect to win big money?
DEAR BRIAN: I don’t really have a moral problem with it, but I don’t understand the concept. Call me crazy, but I do not get a thrill from losing money I’ve worked hard to earn. That’s not my idea of entertainment.
When someone tells me they gamble for fun or recreation, my first thought is they’re delusional enough to believe that they’ll actually win — that they think they’re the exception to the rule. Otherwise, there would be no thrill. You may see a news story once in a while about someone winning big money in a casino, but that rarely happens.
Think, too, about how much money those people had flushed down the toilet previously while gambling. There’s a really good chance they didn’t really “win” anything. In most cases, they probably just recouped a small portion of their previous, substantial losses.
My advice is don’t waste your time and money on that stuff. One way or another, the house always wins.
DEAR DAVE: What happens to the money in an ESA if the child gets a scholarship and no longer needs the money?
DEAR JONATHAN: In an Educational Savings Account, and in a 529 Plan, you are allowed to pull out money tax free in the amount of the scholarship. But very rarely do you find someone going to college completely free and clear. Often tuition is covered, and even tuition and a dorm room in some cases, but zero-cost college is almost unheard of. There are always living expenses, books and other miscellaneous items, and you can use the money in an ESA for any education-related expenses.
The chances of your money getting trapped and you as parents winding up in a situation where you’ve actually saved too much and a child has leftover money just doesn’t happen. This is a bunch of drama found only in the nightmares of nerds. Real human beings don’t have this problem, Jonathan, because nobody ever saves enough.
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