Have you noticed how many individuals are purchasing lottery tickets or gambling at a local casino? The idea of quick riches is always in the back of their minds as they make one more pull of the slot machine, scratch a lottery ticket or look to have their number selected by the dropping, numbered balls.So is this the ideal way to accumulate wealth? Yes it is, if you happen to be the casino owner. Gambling is an industry which is growing at an unprecedented pace. Every state with the exception of two has some sort of legalized gambling; casinos exist on riverboats, Indian Reservations, and mountain resorts. Gambling exists in many forms. The FBI estimates that in excess of $2.5 billion is wagered on the NCAA tournament, each year.The local news is always eager to publicize when someone wins the large amounts accumulated in the Powerball, Lotto. To date, the highest jackpot ever won by an individual was a staggering $390 Million. Invest one dollar and receive an unbelievable return in excess of (One Quarter Billion dollars). Yes that’s Billion with a ‘B.’ Can you imagine the excitement that person must have felt?This article is not intended to take away the fantasy of going from rags to riches, literally overnight. We all have dreams and like to think about how great it would be to change our financial lives forever, if only…! How fun must it be, for the actual winners? It is, however, intended to reveal a problem which exists when it comes to accumulating wealth.The statistics associated with winning one of these life changing jackpots is the information which prompted this article. The National Weather Service states, one person will die for every 345,000 lightning strikes. The chance of you winning the Powerball in any given drawing is slightly higher than (1 in 120 million). That means you are 347 times more likely to be killed by lightning than to win Powerball. As ridiculous as this sounds, do you plan to be killed by lightning? So, with these statistics in mind, why are so many people willing to throw away their hard earned money?We, as a society, have become so impatient. We want and expect to get everything now. Based upon this frame of mind, credit card companies spend millions of dollars per month to convince us to sign up for one of their high interest rate credit cards. Once we receive these cards, we feel empowered to go out and make purchases we really can not afford. In fact many people are spending their retirement before it is ever received. Consumer debt is at an all time high. We are mortgaging our futures away for a few frivolous pleasures today!The solution – Accumulating wealth or saving for retirement is not something anyone can leave to chance and it is certainly not a process based upon playing a game or gambling. A sound financial plan requires a commitment to success. It takes perseverance and education with regard to identifying investments which protect principal and achieve high rates of return. Successful individuals realize it is best to concentrate their efforts on the work they know best. With this in mind, they understand how it is more productive to engage the assistance of a professional planner who works on behalf of the investor. A good professional planner is one who recommends investments in the best interest of the client; not the planner.Investing and creating wealth should begin as early as possible. A few dollars saved or invested each month, beginning at age twenty-one has a much more profound effect than beginning at age forty or fifty. The global markets of today make investing more challenging, but they can also be extremely lucrative. It’s okay to ask for assistance with your planning; this is an important aspect of your financial well-being.In conclusion, gambling is a form of entertainment and nothing more. It should not be considered any different than going to a movie, dinner or camping. Certainly no one should rely on winning a big jackpot to take care of all their financial needs. Remember, you are 347 times more likely to get killed by lighting than to win the Powerball, Lotto.