Would Winning The Lottery Really Improve Your Life?
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.