Winning the Lottery – A One Way Ticket to Misery!

November 25, 2008 by Jenn · 5 Comments 

What would you do if you suddenly won the lottery?

juan rodriguez house

Juan Rodriguez's house

If you’re like Juan Rodriguez, you’d stay in your single-wide trailer, drink beer, and wonder when the next vulture is going to come to your door looking for a handout.

Is winning the lottery all it’s cracked up to be?

The evidence is certainly stacked up against it.

There is something about our culture that gets people very excited about getting something for nothing. The thought of paying $1 for a lottery ticket and coming away with several million dollars is a fantasy many people can’t let go of — in fact, that’s why the lotto companies can afford to keep going in the first place.

The problem with winning so much money is that it’s a complete life change that very few people are ready for. Going from near poverty levels to wealth rarely ends well. People tend to either wind up lonely, broke, or in some other kind of trouble.

Juan Rodriguez is not broke, but he also has no idea where his money has gone. He’s invested some, given some away, and bought some items (that he’s grown bored with). He still hasn’t moved out of his mobile home, and really isn’t in a hurry to.

The Life of Luxury

The Life of Luxury

He thought that winning the lottery would change his life for the better. Finally, he could spend his days doing whatever he wanted to do instead of going to work in the oil and gas fields everyday. The trouble is, that gave his life purpose and now he feels like he has none. What’s even worse, everyone seems to want to use him.

“Now, people call him ‘sir’ or worse, ‘The Millionaire.’ He hates going out because he hates running into people who owe him money, or people who want money. When you’re arguably the richest guy in town, everyone always wants something.”

Is that really any way to live your life? I’m willing to bet that Juan doesn’t think so. If he could turn back time and stop himself from spending that buck on the lottery ticket, he probably would in a heartbeat. Then, he’d know who his friends were, where his money was going, and he’d have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Easy Money = More Problems

This kind of fast wealth almost always seems to lead to heartache. Are you still hoping for that winning lotto ticket? How about getting rich the old fashioned way? Those who are able to earn their income through hard work and smart investing seem to fare much better in the long run than those who are one of the very few people who get lucky at lotto.

Though that’s sound advice, it seems that there are only a few who will ever heed it. The lull of buying a small piece of paper with some numbers on it, and winning millions of dollars is just too strong. It’s all about human nature I suppose, which Juan Rodriguez is certainly finding out a lot about.

It’s actually hard to believe that more money could bring more problems, but history suggests it is true. Not only that but 82% of people who win the lottery actually are worse off financially in 18 months!

Do you think you’d be the exception? How would you handle winning the lottery?

~ this post was featured as part of the Carnival of Personal Finance on Mighty Bargain Hunter!