Why I Wouldn’t Want to Win the Lottery

Power Ball Ticket
Oh great, now that I said that, the Power Ball Gods will be against me and I won’t win! Oh well, being that the odds are 1 in 175 million and that I only play once or twice a year for fun, my chances were pretty bad to begin with.

Every time the Power Ball jackpot gets over a certain amount, there is a mad rush to buy tickets. Office pools organize, friends and family organize pools, and sometimes friends who are not in a Power Ball state even asks you to buy a ticket for them. Someone in a small town in Florida just won 590.5 million dollars a few days ago. Who wouldn’t want to win over half a billion dollars?

It’s easy to see the upside of winning the lottery: you can quit your job, have plenty of money to travel the world, buy fancy new cars and luxurious mansions and help others. But, there are also plenty of downsides as well.

Bankruptcy: There have been plenty of stories of lottery winners who lose it all. Generally, the people who lose the money are those who do not know what to do with such a big windfall and spend it all. I’d like to think that I am a better money manager and that I wouldn’t blow threw my winnings. I would definitely find a good fee only financial advisor, legal advisor, and probably put most of the money in a safe investment before making any big decision. Sure, there will be lifestyle inflation, but hey it’s Half a Billion dollars. You can afford some lifestyle inflation.

Become a Target: You might have to hire security guards to protect yourself and your family after winning. There have been assassination attempts by jealous people wanting the money (these jealous people include family members), and kidnapping attempts for the ransom money. Yea, I don’t need the stress of this. I know the lottery doesn’t allow anonymous winners because they need transparency and to market the lottery by showing off the big winners, but that’s too bad for the winners who want some privacy.

Family and Friends coming out of the woodwork: I think this would be a big stressor for me. When you win the lotto and have hundreds of millions of dollars, there will be many people wanting a piece of the pie. Sure, you can say you would ignore them, but could you really? I’m sure there are plenty of people you’d like to help…if only you just had the money. Yes, you would help your immediate family and close friends, but where would it stop? Now that you have hundreds of millions of dollars, you will probably feel a good amount of burden to help as many people as you could (well atleast I would to an extent). There will be friends and family down on their luck, so what’s a few thousand dollars here, a few thousand there to help them pay their credit card debt and help them through whatever financial crisis they’re facing. There will be people who have great investment opportunities that require your money. It’s funny because if you had earned the money, I think you would feel less obligated to throw the money around, even to help people. There would also be less of an expectation that you should help people out. Cause hey…it’s not like you had to work for the money, you got lucky and picked the right numbers.

Change in relationships: This is a derivative of the above problem. People often times will resent the fact that you are rich, especially when you did not earn it through the sweat of your own brow. Money changes people and it changes how people view you, especially such a large amount. Feelings and friendships will be hurt if they feel slighted by you not sharing your wealth.

As they say “Mo money Mo problems.”

Well maybe I’d be down with a smaller lottery jackpot that allows for more anonymity!

What other downsides do you think would come from winning a lot of money?

13 thoughts on “Why I Wouldn’t Want to Win the Lottery

  1. Holly@ClubThrifty

    I once watched a documentary called “The Curse of the Lottery” that detailed stories exactly like you’re talking about here. It seems like a lot of people who win start out with bad money management skills and aren’t able to make good decisions.

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Yea, that’s absolutely true. You also see it all the time with professional athletes and celebrities that suddenly become wealthy. They don’t know how to handle their money and eventually lose it all.

      Reply
  2. Cat

    I think you’ve covered most of them! I’d like to win something like Cash for Life – enough to provide a bit extra, but not so much you’re a target!

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Yea, me too! Cash for Life would actually be good for people who aren’t good with money since its not a lump sum payment.

      Reply
  3. Keenyn

    Great post! There are definitely some things that people don’t think about when they buy a lottery ticket. So many things in your life change, I can’t say that I would want it either!
    Keenyn recently posted…BooksMy Profile

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Keenyn! Yea, while it’s great to have all that money, things do change and not always for the better. I think it’s better when you earn the money yourself rather than winning it.

      Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Yes, it would be a lot better if it was anonymous so you could have some privacy!

      Reply
  4. Tie the Money Knot

    I think that the change in relationships would be the biggest issue. However, I think that could be managed effectively – the changes don’t have to lead to degradation. Not that I have experience with a big financial windfall! :)

    I’d love to win the lottery, but I don’t play. Oh well!
    Tie the Money Knot recently posted…The Art of Financial CompromiseMy Profile

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      I agree…it would be the biggest issue for me too. The windfall might not lead to degradation of all or even most relationships…but it seems like it would probably have a huge effect on them.

      Reply
  5. CashRebel

    I think you’d be alright with winning any amount of money because you’ve got a solid plan, and you know how to handle your finances. I think people run into trouble when they get handed a large check without having to learn how to earn it/invest it.

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks for your confidence in me CashRebel! haha. Yea, I think that handling the finances of the big windfall would probably be the least of my concern. The other reasons would probably be bigger concerns.

      Reply
  6. Evan

    I am with you! Whenever I play the lottery (right around the 100mil mark lol) I imagine winning just a few hundred thousand. Enough to make my life MUCH easier but not enough where shit has hit the fan.

    There was a great show on Discovery channel last year that was the opposite of those standard won and bankruptcy lottery stories – they went into the lives of those that weren’t assholes with the cash.
    Evan recently posted…Should Tax Money Be Used to Stop Consensual Sex?My Profile

    Reply

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