Lessons from Las Vegas
Why are so many people so bad with money, even though they know it’s important?
There’s an article from Psychology Today titled “The Psychology of Money.” It was published in 1995, but the central question still rings true—why do people sacrifice so much for money, only to blow it all?
Michael Ventura, the author, asks the question in the context of Las Vegas, where hard earned money goes to die. He paints a vivid picture of brightly lit casinos packed with overweight middle-aged men in casual clothes hunched over blackjack tables and slot machines.
Not one of them looks happy.
They likely don’t talk much with their spouses.
They spend a few minutes each week in conversation with their kids.
All they do is work. Their income and financial resources define their social status.
And yet here they are, gambling it all away and hating every second of it.
And again, it begs the question of WHY? Why the insane urge to unravel everything they’ve worked so hard to create?
Here’s a thought—what they’re doing at the casino isn’t too far off from what the sucker does every day. They throw away money in hopes of a rush, and wait to see how the cards fall.
Think about it—they work and work and work for money, but for what? So they can buy a house, a car, and maybe take a nice vacation. Maybe they think it will make them happy. But what does that really get them? A bigger mortgage, higher monthly payments, and the constant worry about losing their job and being unable to make ends meet. They don’t know how to use their money to build wealth or a stable, happier life. How could they?
They’ve never been taught.
The casinos of Vegas call their patrons suckers. Banks give you a sucker on the way out the door. They both leverage the same Sucker Cycle, the same psychology.
So what’s the lesson from Las Vegas? That everyone’s a sucker? That you’ll never be good with money?
The lesson is that you must learn how money works. You must realize that something better is possible with your money. With your life. That you actually have what it takes to make decisions. To write a story with a better ending than hunching over a slot machine with a blank expression on your face.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a gambling addiction, there is help! Check https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/compulsive-gambling/symptoms-causes/syc-20355178 and https://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/national-helpline-1-800-522-4700/