The average American spends a little over $200 per year on lottery tickets, but the vast majority of people don’t win. In fact, you’re more likely to get struck by lightning twice than to win the lottery once. However, in spite of these staggering statistics, a few people do win the lottery and get to take home fat stacks of cash. But are they happy? Does winning the lottery change their lives for the better? Take a look at these stories.
1. You get a lot more friends, which isn’t always a good thing.
More friends sounds like a good thing, but it isn’t if they’re just hanging around to get some of your wealth. When Sandra Hayes of Missouri won a $224 million lottery prize, she was generous enough to split the winning with 11 people, but her other friends weren’t happy. They kept expecting her to pay for everything.
For Oregon-winner, Stacey Lowry, the needy friend effect was so intense that she had to move. Her entire neighborhood wanted gifts and cash, and when she wouldn’t comply, they turned against her. She moved to another town to hide from her new-found fame.
2. Greed can backfire or even become life-threatening.
In 1996, lottery winner Denise Rossi quickly divorced her husband as soon as she realized that she had won a $1.3 million jackpot. Her intention was to hide the money from her now ex-spouse. However, a few years later, he cottoned on to her greedy plot and went to the courts who ordered her to give all of her winnings to him.
Another lottery winner almost lost his life due to greed. After William Post won $16.2 million in 1988, his brother hired a hitman to take him out. Luckily, the plot was unsuccessful, but on an emotional level, Post lost a brother forever.
3. Winning comes with a heightened risk of bankruptcy.
Everybody thinks that if they have a few million they’ll be set for life, but lottery winners indicate that this just isn’t true. Even people who have won hundreds of millions of dollars have lost it all in just a few years. Many people make too many extravagant purchases, while others opt for bad investments and lavish gifts to friends.
The result — about a third of lottery winners declare bankruptcy not long after winning. To avoid this trap, lottery winners need to realize that money management is about setting the right habits. It’s not just about how much money you have in the bank. To protect themselves, winners should find trustworthy financial advisors.
4. The loot doesn’t come with happiness.
Research dating back almost 50 years shows that winning the lottery doesn’t necessarily make you happy. A bump in comfort can help to boost happiness levels for people who struggle financially, but once you reach a reasonable level of economic comfort, most people’s happiness levels don’t fluctuate if they get more money.
Most lottery winners feel content financially (until they blow their winnings and declare bankruptcy), but the winnings don’t spread joy into the rest of their lives. Winners still worry about health, relationships, and personal fulfillment just as much as they did before they won.
5. You lose your privacy.
Most lottery winners get a lot of media coverage. Being in the limelight can be exciting for a minute, but that quickly fades for most winners. When the world knows that you have a new bundle of cash, people start hitting you up to give them gifts or invest in their companies. Of course, there’s also the embarrassing scrutiny that you get if you spend all your money and end up in the poor house again.
For most people, they don’t really pay attention to how much a lottery jackpot is until it starts inching closer to being in record territory. This is when you see lines at convenience stores start getting longer as people purchase their tickets in hopes of being the one that sets the new record for winning the biggest jackpot.
There have been some instances of lottery jackpots climbing to numbers that could support an entire small country over the years. We think of famous numbers that came up during games like Powerball, the Big Game, or Mega Millions. Out of all of the contests that have been held, a few stand out as being the ones to pay out the most. Here are the five largest lottery wins ever, with more certainly to make the list in the future.
In early 2019, Manuel Franco became the third-highest-earning lottery winner with a jackpot of $768.4 million. The Wisconsin native purchased $10 worth of lottery tickets at a Speedway in New Berlin. Little did he know, one of those tickets would change his life. Franco himself admitted he had a good feeling about the tickers and winked at the camera on his way out. Before the win, he was employed at Target and lived a normal life. Now he’s enjoying the $326 million lump sum in winnings.
In 2017, Massachusetts native Mavis Wanczyk won an incredible $758.7 million Powerball Jackpot. Wanczyk chose the lump sum as the way to collect her winnings and ended up taking home over $300 million. She bought five tickets in total, two tickets with randomly generated sets of numbers and the other three tickets with chosen numbers, some of which were combinations of her family members’ birth dates. She purchased the tickets at the Pride Station and Store in Chicopee Massachusetts. The store received a $50,000 bonus for having sold the ticket.
John and Lisa Robinson
John and Lisa Robinson are a couple from a small town in Tennessee who didn’t let the lottery change them. They won a third of the $1.6 billion jackpot after purchasing one of the three winning tickets, the two others having been sold in California and Florida. The couple took the lump sum payout of over $300 million. They don’t intend on doing the things most of us would when winning such an enormous sum of money. They’ve told news outlets they never wanted that lifestyle in the first place and money hasn’t changed that. Instead, they decided to pay off debts and donate, holding on to the remaining money.
Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt
Another couple who took part in the $1.6 billion jackpot winnings is Maureen Smith and her husband David Kaltschmidt from Melbourne Beach Florida. The couple told the media that they have a tradition of buying lottery tickets from their local Publix grocery store as well as playing the same numbers for the last 30 years. Their lucky numbers finally struck gold in 2016. The couple chose to take the lump sum payout, due to their age and not knowing if they’d be around to receive payments throughout the years. They still live the same lives, albeit with more stress and even a couple of fancy new cars.
Scott Godfrey, a kind-hearted man from Morro Bay California, was the lucky winner of the $699 million jackpot in 2021. He bought the 10 tickets from his local Albertsons. He chose quick picks for all of the tickets and the very first ticket of the bunch ended up being the one that won it all. He decided on the lump sum payout of over $490 million, with plans to donate a large portion of it through a foundation set up by him and his family.
We all dream of one day hitting a big jackpot in the lottery and making millions, even if the odds are incredibly slim. However, there are some people out there that have won the lottery multiple times. Many people think that it’s just pure luck, but those that have won several lottery jackpots actually have a strategy for doing so.
Some might think that there aren’t any actual tips for winning the lottery, but if someone has done it several times, you might want to heed their advice. Here are five tips for winning the lottery, and if you end up hitting the jackpot, you can thank the experts that came up with the foolproof ideas for winning.
Play the Lottery
It might seem like an obvious tip for winning the lottery, but it’s the most important one. If you don’t play, you don’t win. You don’t have to go overboard and spend a fortune on tickets. Buying any tickets, no matter how few, or many increases your odds of winning more than if you don’t play at all. If you don’t want to make it a habit, try practicing restraint and only buying tickets every so often so that you’re not overdoing it and spending too much on lottery tickets.
Play a Variety of Games
Another tip for increasing your chances of winning the lottery is to play a variety of games. There’s a plethora of lottery games, some more popular than others. In fact, choosing games that aren’t as popular is more likely to earn you a win. Games that aren’t as popular have fewer people playing them, therefore your odds of winning are higher. So if you’re looking to win, try out a few new games, buy tickets you normally don’t and look for the lottery games nobody else is all that interested in.
Pick the Right Numbers
Picking the right numbers and sticking to them is the one tip most lottery winners swear by. Seven-time lottery winner Richard Lustig claims choosing numbers from separate number groups and ones that don’t end in the same digit is one of the tricks he used to win multiple times. Choosing numbers at random and not in any particular order will increase your chances of winning. Omitting numbers less commonly pulled from winning tickets will also help. Try to avoid choosing from the numbers 29, 30, 31, 10, 48, 40, 39, 41, and 42. Whichever numbers you decide on, stick to them. Try choosing a few different assortments and buying multiple tickets with the separate sets of numbers.
Buy a Large Number of Tickets
Of course, buying a ton of lottery tickets may not be the best idea for some, so it’s recommended you buy tickets within your budget. Although, your odds are hugely increased the more tickets you purchase. When buying your tickets in bulk, try obtaining them from a variety of locations. Purchase some with randomly generated numbers and some with an array of your personal picks. For example, a Virginian man named Jalen Taylor purchased 264 lottery tickets in 2022 that won him $132,000 over the course of two months.
Do Your Research
If you want to win, do your research. There is a multitude of lottery winners who have generously shared their tips for winning the big prize. Whether it’s online, or through books they’ve released with said tips, seeking out information on the subject will no doubt increase your chances of winning. Try to combine all of the strategies mentioned by the winners and stick to them. Although the lottery is a game of chance, there’s a formula to and cracking the code is the fastest way to earn yourself a win over time.
We all like to imagine what we would do if we won big in the lottery. For almost all of us, that will never happen since the odds are astronomical. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to think about, though. There have been several people that have won the lottery over the years and didn’t even know it at first, or have had some really roundabout ways of cashing in their winning tickets.
There are a few truly bizarre stories of lottery winners that will have you double and triple-checking your tickets to see if you actually won. These five stories will also make you wonder if you may have won years ago without even knowing.
Valentine’s Day Craziness
In April of 2019, Canadian couple Nicole Pedneault and Roger Larocque became the lucky winners of the $750,000 prize money for a lottery ticket that won the year prior. They mentioned having bought the ticket for Valentine’s Day in 2018 and apparently tucked it away and forgot about it. In April of 2019, their grandson asked for informational books to help with a school project. When Nicole went through the books for her grandson, a ticket fell out of the pages. To their amazement, the ticket was a winner, and even more amazing, the ticket was still valid, but only for two more days. The couple turned in their ticket and collect their winnings. A very happy ending to what could have been an unfortunate situation.
The next story is one you may have heard of before. In 1998, Bill Morgan of Australia was the victim of a horrible car crash, the vehicle almost crushing him. He survived but suffered a heart attack as a result of the crash. He was rushed to the hospital, where they administered a drug that caused an allergic reaction. He died for 14 minutes and was put into a medically induced coma for 12 days after his heart stopped beating. He recovered and with his newfound lease on life, decided to play the lottery after settling into his life with his then-fiancée. He ended up winning a car worth $17,000. Insane luck followed soon after when the local news station covered his story and asked him to reenact the win. When he did, he scratched off a $250,000 winning ticket. Bill Morgan is one lucky guy.
A funny story about a man from the UK, whose reaction to winning a $106 million lottery prize went viral on Tik Tok. The audio recording of Andrew Clark’s phone call to the National Lottery line received social media due to his calm demeanor after having won a whopping $106 million prize. Clark is a busy man who tends to let things pile up in his van. Including his lottery tickets. His partner’s niece called and told him to check his tickets after the winning numbers had been announced. Days later he went through the stack of tickets and found a winner. A big winner. His reaction gave viewers a good laugh and was marked as the most British response ever.
Losing lottery tickets seems to be a common theme for most winners. Michael J Weirsky is one of those. The man from New Jersey accidentally left his winning tickets on a local convenience store counter while distracted. A kind man turned the tickets into the store owner and a frantic Michael eventually found his way back to the store to ask if they had seen the tickets. He ended up winning an astounding $273 million.
Better Late Than Never
Another lucky winner for more reasons than one is Joemel Panisa. He decided to clean his office and when doing so, found a lottery ticket he had tucked away in an envelope the year prior. It turned out to be a $1 million winning ticket and was only days away from becoming invalid in the ultimate bout of good timing.