Is Winning the Lottery a Curse?

Who in his right mind wouldn't be completely ecstatic in winning a huge multi-million dollar lottery? Some people play the lottery on occasion. But there are hordes of people who have incorporated the purchase of lottery tickets into their daily routines. Whether you play strictly for entertainment purposes, or to catapult a luxurious lifestyle, the result of landing a windfall in the lottery can bring more heartache than relief.THE PROBLEM WITH THE LOTTERY…

Demographic records have dictated in the past that the heaviest lottery contributors are usually the poorest members of society. It can also be said that those who are the most desperate for a big break are those who are actually providing that big "break" to others who ultimately win.

The lottery, which is essentially gambling run by the state, is used to fund causes like education. The majority of the monies paid out is dedicated to lottery prizes. The rest is divided amongst education funding, and the expenses required to run the game itself. Thus, the lottery itself may not necessarily be corrupt. It is in essence what is done with game prize money that makes the concept of a lottery questionable.


For every smiling face of a lottery winner, there is another winner whose countenance bears something a bit more disillusioned. These are some of the unfortunate dozens who have realized that winning is not always everything:

  • Evelyn Adams/ New Jersey/ $5.4 million- This lucky lady won the NJ lottery not once, but twice, once in 1985—and then again in 1986. Unfortunately, today all her money is gone and she now resides in a trailer. Her windfall dwindled rapidly due to relatives and friends who constantly requested handouts for various reasons.
  • William Post/ Pennsylvania / $16.2 million – In 1988 this man scored his major win. But he was successfully sued by one of his ex-girlfriends for a portion of his prize. But the bad "luck" didn't stop there: a brother of his was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him for some inheritance money. Other relatives bothered him for "investment seeds" for their businesses, all of which returned no profit for William Post. He now lives on $450 per month and food stamps.
  • Ken Proxmire/ Michigan / $1 million – This man moved to California after landing his big win. Shortly after, he went into the automobile business with his brothers—but then filed for bankruptcy within 5 years.


Of course winning the lottery does not automatically spell out bankruptcy. Prizes as large as those offered in state lotteries should be sufficient enough to ensure a healthy and comfortable lifestyle for the rest of one's years on earth. There are some definite things that one should do in the event that he/her finds oneself holding the winning number combination.

1) Keep quiet. As difficult as it may be, it's not a terrible idea to keep news of your good fortune to yourself (if at all possible) for a while. Doing so will give you time to absorb the shock of such a large win. You will also have some time to prepare yourself for all the attention you're going to receive as a millionaire.

2) Don't quit your day job. At least not right away anyway. T his piece of advice falls right in line with #1. As much as you would love to sing the lyrics to the country song, "Take This Job and Shove It", you should probably wait a short period of time. Give the proper notice. And make sure that you successfully finalize any financial investment transactions(like 401K) associated with your wages/salary. Be gracious in your exit, and don't burn any bridges you may need to cross later.

3) Practice saying "No." This is perhaps the best piece of advice that you can take with regard to large winnings. Relatives and friends will crawl out of the woodwork to claim a piece of your fortune, simply because they know you. There is nothing wrong with spreading the wealth, providing for loved ones, or even splurging on them. But in order to avoid having to fend off multiple requests, offer ONE lump sum to all the people whom you intend to reward. Advise them that their lump sum is all they are going to receive, and that they should spend it wisely. After their "gift" is saturated, that's the end of that. Handling loved ones in this manner kills two birds with one stone; you get to share your bounty while eliminating the guilt of refusing additional requests.

Whether you decide to invest your lottery winnings aggressively, or splurge on all your wildest fantasies, the key to making your winnings last is in careful planning. Tucking a large majority into sound investments will ensure that you continue to add to your nest egg. The remainder of what you spend should be planned out very carefully.

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