Why Winning The Lottery Won’t Solve All Your Problems
Everyone fantasizes about winning the lottery at least once in their lifetime.
And really, how can you not? Imagine all the luxury cruises you’d take, the mansion you’d come home to, the fancy car you’d drive around town–what was that?
What about your bills? A thing of the past. You’ve got enough to pay your bills, pay your grown children’s bills, and heck, probably put your great-grandkids through college.
Many of us non-winners shake our heads and wonder why? After all, if we won, we wouldn’t make any of those mistakes, right?
The truth is winning the lottery doesn’t solve all your problems. On the contrary, it comes with more issues than the average person is equipped to handle
Winning the lottery doesn’t change old spending habits
Believe it or not, winning the lottery doesn’t get rid of any bad spending habits you had before.
Unfortunately, not many people consider this before they accept the giant check, and why would they? With that amount of money, they’re under the impression that they could never run out and that it’ll last them their entire life.
It is that mindset and a combination of poor financial practices that are the perfect recipe for bankruptcy.
A perfect example would be Evelyn Adams, who won $5.4 million in 1985 (and again in 1986). Between a gambling addiction and loose purse strings, she found herself penniless and living in a trailer by 2001.
So if you still believe the lottery will cure your spending habits, think again. These practices just have more room to fester.
You’ll Worry More Around Tax Season
The Notorious B.I.G. said it best: “Mo money, mo problems.”
According to the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), 70% of lottery winners end up broke within several years. Mindless splurging aside, spending beyond their pre-lotto means is a key factor.
Most winners don’t think about the property tax for their new mansions, the vehicle taxes for all of their sports cars, or all the other costs of ownership. All of those add up quickly and unless you have a good accountant, expect the IRS to come knocking on your door.
A Go-To Legal Defense Team Will be A Must
Regardless of how much you win, you’ll need a good lawyer. Your chances of getting sued are much higher now that you’re a lottery winner, especially if you didn’t or couldn’t claim the prize anonymously.
Complete strangers will come out of the woodworks claiming any and everything to get a piece of your fortune. It could be the oh-so-common fender bender, the vengeful entitled ex-wife, or even a credit company trying to call in a long lost debt.
It isn’t unheard of for winners to spend a notable chunk of their fortune defending said fortune. Just ask Jack Whittaker, winner of $315 million in 2002. On top of facing personal tragedy, everyone from jealous neighbors to corrupt law enforcement repeatedly slammed him with frivolous lawsuits.
Even if you don’t win the lottery, a good lawyer is a worthwhile investment.
You May Need to Hire Bodyguards
As cynical as it sounds, you become a marked man/woman when you win the lottery. People will stop at nothing to try and get your fortune, no matter how vile, depraved, or amoral the deed might seem.
Abraham Shakespeare is an unfortunate example of the risk associated with winning big. Not long after winning $17 million (after taxes) in 2006, Abraham was taken advantage of by a con artist by the name of Dorice Donegan Moore.
After stealing his money through a shady startup scheme, she murdered Abraham and buried his body under a concrete slab in her backyard.
Think you’ll enjoy having bodyguards? Think again. You’ll rarely have a moment when you’re entirely alone, a luxury you’ll soon find yourself missing.
Oh, and that mansion you likely bought? There’s a good chance you’ll need private security to guard your possessions. All of this would come directly out of your pocket.
Being a VIP isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
You Could Go Emotionally Bankrupt
Despite the high possibility of going bankrupt, there’s a chance that you’ll go emotionally bankrupt long before then.
Strangers and charities alike will try guilt-tripping you into giving a handout, stuffing your mailbox with sob stories of nieces who need an operation or pictures of needy-looking orphans.
Small wonder that most winners are advised to go off the grid soon after winning.
However, complete strangers and faceless charities are easy enough to ignore. They’ll just have to help themselves, right? Family and friends, on the other hand, are much, much harder to ignore.
Friends will start bringing up the debts they owe or how the family is going through a hard time. Others will outright demand that you give them a share.
Worse yet, your immediate family will pressure you on how you should spend your money. You’ll hear everything from buying everyone their own houses to funding a dubious business plan, holding you emotionally hostage throughout the process.
It’s this false sense of mass entitlement that will cause a permanent rift between you and your family.
Eventually, you’ll conclude that you’ll have to move. Whether it was the ill attention your money brought or the recent divide in your family, starting over seems like your best bet. But starting over presents its own set of problems.
For one, you’d be much more wary of who to trust. Secondly, there’s the matter of (re-)building a healthy social network that doesn’t revolve around your bank account, made much harder because of the above lack of trust.
Thirdly, there’s the unique sense of loneliness that only a lottery winner could feel. You’re a part of a particular niche in the 1%–the niche that arrived at the destination without ever taking the journey.
While most worked years for their wealth, you just picked a few numbers.
Your self-esteem will plummet on this realization, and you may even find yourself spiraling into depression. In the end, you’ll know just how lonely a winner’s road can be. Getting stressed yet?
Remember that the lottery isn’t the end-all-be-all solution. After all, the odds of you solving your problems on your own are much higher than winning the lottery.