Google
 

9.15.2007

THE STATE LOTTERY: THE TRAGEDY OF WINNING

The story that rich man who became a lottery winner is quite a novelty. However, his life's pattern after winning the jackpot is very common among most of the winners.

A couple of years ago, I read a few articles and heard some firsthand stories about people who suddenly became rich. The stories covered people who got rich because of a winning lottery ticket and a lucky streak in a start up business. Most of the stories were about those who were below middle class if not really poor. I initially typed “Dirt poor” but decided to substitute it with the word “poor”.

Most of the stories have horrendously similar patterns.
  1. Poor man becomes suddenly rich.
  2. Newly minted rich man mismanages his money (and his life, for that matter).
  3. Rich man goes back to becoming poor.
  4. And worse, the “Once Rich-Poor Man” is now in worse shape.
There’s this formerly jobless man living on spouse’s support and living in his mother in law’s house. After winning 65 million in the lottery, he became the coolest man in town and spent money left and right. He even tried to venture into a business which is something he doesn’t have any expertise. Of course, the realization always comes in a lot later, when it has become too late. The end result after a year was a jobless wife, a drug addict for a sister in law, a distraught mother in law and most of all, less than a $50 left in cash and only one car (an SUV that’s scheduled to be advertised for sale).

An article that I’ve read talked about a US survey on the lives of people a few years after winning the lottery. The result was very similar. Most winners end up being worse off, not only in financial terms but also in quality of life.

I have initially thought of offering my services as a financial adviser to lottery winners. I am very confident that my experiences in helping my bosses become a lot richer and most importantly, become successful will come in very handy. However, I backed off knowing that locating the the instant winners will not be so easy. Besides, the lottery winners will not want any “Stranger in suit” telling him how to manage his oodles of money. But with all the sad stories going around, perhaps, it’s time that I revive and push forward with this idea.

No comments: