The 2nd biggest Mega Millions in history took place yesterday, and someone in South Carolina is about to take home that almost $1.6 Billion prize. 36 different winners also took home a $1 million runner up prize from all across the United States. While a lot of people are disappointed at their loss, numerous studies show that winning the lottery is not going to improve your life.
If you chose to not play the lottery AT ALL, you could save $1,000 per year. Tony Robbins spoke that on average, each United States household spends $1k on lottery games each year. If you put that money into a low interest savings account, you would have almost $10,000 in less than nine years. Having $10,000 guaranteed off of $1,000 is guaranteed unlike that "more likely to be struck by a meteor chance" of winning the lottery.
Psychologist Dan Gilbert spoke in a TED Talk about how people who win the lottery one year later are no happier than someone who had lost the use of their legs.
If all you can think about is "well, if I won I would be set for life," which isn't exactly the case for 70% of lottery winners. In a story reported by cleveland.com, the National Endowment for Financial Education reported that 70% of all lottery winners go broke within five years. Charles Conrad, senior financial planner with Szarka Financial in North Olmsted, said that the issue is actually how much money winners give away to family and friends. "Once family and friends learn of the windfall, they have expectations of what they should be entitled to, and many of these expectations are not rational. It can be very difficult to say no."
Steve Lewit, CEO of Wealth Financial Group in Chicago, said that a lot of lottery winners also look at the money as a bottomless pit, when in reality having that amount of money makes it even easier for someone to plow through the cash. "It's natural to want to spend money on nice things once you receive a windfall," Conrad of Szarka Financial said. "If you don't have a budget, even for millions of dollars, it is very easy to lose track of how much you have spent. Many don't realize this until it is too late."
If all of that isn't enough to convince you that you're better off without the cash, check out these 11 lottery winners who died after collecting their winnings. Dorris Murray of Georgia won the $5 million jackpot and was smart with the cash, but a year after winning she threatened to dump her boyfriend. He then stabbed her to death, family and friends believe it was due to the winnings.
Billie Bob Harrell Jr. won $31 million in Texas and died of a self inflicted gun shot wound. It was said that after spending the cash and going broke he took his own life after endless harassment over money and his wife.
Craigory Burch Jr was killed two months after winning almost $500,000 in the lottery in Georgia. He was found dead after two masked robbers invaded the home and demanded the cash. Burch told the robbers to take his bank card but when they could not find the wallet, he was shot and they fled. Burch's girlfriend who ran to seek help during the invasion said Burch had begged for them to not kill him in front of his kids.
If you still plan on playing the lottery, make sure to play for fun and not investment purposes. If you do ever end up securing the money, make sure to check out my tips for what to do after winning.
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