Feeling Sorry for Powerball Lottery Winners

Friday, November 30, 2012

There were two winners in the recent HALF A BILLION dollar jackpot winnings for the Powerball this past Wednesday.  I just watched the live newscast of the family that won in Missouri.  It was the all-American family from Midwest-- mother, father, three adult sons and beautiful young daughter.  Their faces beaming, containing their excitement, perhaps nervous from being on live television.

Once upon a time I felt genuinely happy for these winners. Imagining how there lives would be a little easier and better. So I thought...Now I'm fearful and pray for them. How I wish they never did the press conference. WHY?

In picking up the newspaper, I started reading and learning about the harsh reality of winning lotteries.  The more I read the more fearful I became that I do not even buy a ticket. You see for these mega winners, their life changes completely and not necessarily for the better.  Sure money can buy material things but you lose your privacy and also a "normal life".  It attracts unwanted attention. A common thread for these winners is the mounting temptations to spend recklessly, the inability to manage the earnings, and the number of disingenuous people around you --friends, relatives, coworkers, investors.  It's very similar to paparazzi pursuing celebrities. You are followed, hounded relentlessly. No one is genuine anymore. For the average person one might say "how bad can it be? We're talking millions of dollars."  It's the beginning of another nightmare and unexpected pressure. Yes having millions of dollars comes at hefty price.That's why stardom and celebrity fame comes at a price.

Spending is easy but several mega winners will tell you they wish they never won! Not knowing how to manage and invest, wanting to help every friend, relative and coworker, and temptations to buy everything they ever dream of lead to bankruptcy, and for some--homelessness.  Even more tragic, it has lead to a number of suicides. At first I couldn't believe it. The more I read, the more it made sense.  How to survive? Having that much money takes a STRONG discipline not to spend it all AND money management skills to grow the money AND the ability to remain anonymous or discreet.

Here is the reality: Roughly nine of out of 10 big winners lose their windfall within five years according to a Stanford University Study of lottery winners.

Roughly nine out of 10 big prize winners lose their windfall within five years, according to both a Florida study that looked at bankruptcies and a Stanford University study on lottery winners,

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-05-01/news/31513356_1_lottery-winners-mega-millions-illinois-lottery#ixzz2DjrPVtQY

Jack Whittaker wish he never won the $314 million after his daughter committed suicide

Poverty after excessive gambling. There was Evelyn Adams who won not once but twice! Raking in $5.4 million in 1985 and 1986, she admits gambling became an addiction. Today she lives in a trailer.

The pressure could lead to death. In 1998, William "Bud" Post III won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery, only to later wish it had never happened. That's because his brother hired a hit man to try to kill him and his sixth wife (and was arrested for doing so), other relatives made him invest in businesses that never paid off, a landlady made him give her a third of his winnings and Bud ended up in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector. He died in 2006 of respiratory failure.

End up murdered. Then there was Abraham Shakespeare who won the $31 million jackpot in Florida in 2006. He disappeared in 2009, having spent most of his fortune; his body was found in early 2010 under a concrete slab. According to author of the book "Plain Dealer", a woman befriended him and fleeced him for $1.8 million. Police believe she may be connected to the murder.

Being too generous lead to suicide. I remember the story of Bob Harrell Jr. who won $31 million in the Texas lottery. At first everything was great. He purchased a ranch and half a dozen homes for himself. As one who loved to give, he purchased new automobiles for family members and gave large contributions to his church and if a congregation member needed help, he was ready with cash. Then his life unraveled as quickly as it came together. With mounting pressures from everyone, his spending and lending was out of control. It splintered his marriage and 20 months after winning the lottery, Harrell committed suicide.

There are many stories like these. I only shared a few.

 As an optimist, at first I hesitated to write this post and burst bubbles this holiday season.But then I've always been an educator to help PREVENT accidents and misfortunes and improve lives of people and pets.

The lessons I learned and want to share with you are the following:

  1.  Don't buy a lottery ticket for bigger games if you currently have debt for non necessity items.  Debts from mounting bills due to job loss and other emergencies is one thing. But if you have debt from non emergency spending, chances are you will have difficulty managing your million dollar winnings.  Play a smaller game or scratch-off ticket. 
  2. Avoid playing major lottery games in states where you are required to do a press conference. To me this is the biggest mistake because now the whole world knows and regular people have no idea how to handle the constant attention and pressure. By law in Illinois, you have to appear at a press conference. Only six states allow you to remain anonymous--Kansas, Maryland, Delaware, Michigan, North Dakota, and Ohio.  Other states publish your name but you are not dragged to a media frenzy event. Sure, the media can obtain this information and publish it but you're wise not to do any television interviews for further exposure.
  3.  Don't rush to claim your ticket. Do research first and set up a Trust fund to protect your identity as much as possible. Sadly in the State of Oregon, this practice is forbidden. 
  4. Hire a reputable accountant. Mine is the best! She has clients across the country, from all income levels and knows the laws inside and out and doesn't charge outrageous fees. It's like getting a Mercedes for price of a Toyota.   She'll guide you through this complicated process as you gain more assets. 
Do I buy any lottery tickets? Oh sure! I only play the Fantasy Five and am thrilled whenever I win $10, $20 even $200.  The odds are greater and I don't have to be on national TV.  So winning a maximum prize of  $200,00, I would be ecstatic! I know how to invest, manage, never spend more than what I earn and save. Truly wealthy people are not saddled with debt. So far I'm ahead with my Fantasy Five earnings, by a few dollars. At least I'm not losing and still hope to win a few thousand dollars.

One last thing, please consider donating to a charity the same amount you spend on any gambling. The reward is greater!  

So do you buy lottery tickets? Which ones?  Leave a comment below! 
And I won't be offended if you don't agree with my advice.

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  1. Good article. I'm tempted to buying lottery tickets sometimes, but after reading these stories i will definitely not...


  2. I've played Oz Lotto online for over a year and it's totally legit. Lottery site send me a scanned copy of my tickets and payment is made very quickly when I win. Only a couple of hundred dollars so far, but I'm hoping for the big one.  A friend of mine recommended a useful site to check Australian Lotto Results . Results archive for Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, Oz lotto and Aussie Powerball.

  3. I can recommend some site too. I regular check my results on Australian lotto results.

  4. That interesting story. Poor guy. However, I still want to win a lot of money in Australian lotto such as Powerball or Oz lotto. I always check my numbers on website Australian Powerball lotto ALso you can find results for Monday Lotto, Wednesday Lotto and Saturday Lotto.