You Decide…Is it the Lottery Dream or the Lottery Curse?

How many times have you muttered the words, “If I could just win the lottery?”  I know I have said it countless times, but of course to win the lottery one must play.  I haven’t been guilty of buying many of these dream catchers, but sometimes it’s fun just to think what if…

We all know that money cannot buy happiness.  As crazy as that statement seems, especially when there is more month than money, I’m sure many of the lottery winners would agree.  If one is unhappy before holding that winning ticket, one is likely to be unhappy shortly after holding that winning ticket.  It might buy you a little peace of mind in one circumstance, but it just opens the door to another set of problems.

That’s not to say I would never play the game or turn down the winning check if I won, but after reading some of the stories, I’m not sure that winning is the walk in the park as one might think.

One thing that I found ironic is the number of the winners that became bankrupt in a matter of years after winning millions…yes bankrupt!  How?  Easy…no money management skills.  The bankrupt winners are guilty of thinking that the money is a bottomless pit that will never run dry.  They assume that the money tree will always produce, and they ignore the advice of professionals.

Reading the headlines last week I noticed where two people held the winning ticket to the mega millions.  The winners will split $390 million dollars.  That amount of money could be a bit overwhelming.  I wish that there would be a limit to the amount one could win.  I would rather see multiple families win smaller amounts than see a one or two people split mega millions.   I wish the winners luck in keeping their head on straight and hope they will invest wisely and share their wealth with some worthwhile causes.

Here are some surprising and tragic comments I found in my research from the two-hour special episode  “THS Investigates: The Curse of the Lottery:”

Susan Bradley, certified financial planner and sudden money expert, on winning the lottery — “Everyone thinks it’s a problem they’d love to have. Most people don’t realize the complexity and the challenges. And if you don’t respect the complexities, you can run into some pretty big, big problems.”

Michael Begin, certified financial planner — “If you’re miserable with 10 dollars, you’ll be miserable with a million dollars.”

Michael Carroll, British lottery winner — “The lottery does bring more bad than good. People around you try to dig at you. The money is the root of all evil.   In some ways I think to myself if I had never won, I might still have my wife and daughter.  I mean its destroyed our family completely.”

Jewell Whittaker, wife of lottery winner Jack Whittaker — “If I’d known what was going to transpire, honestly, I would have torn the ticket up.”

Gladys Burrous, daughter of lottery winner Bud Post — “He got so much happier when he had nothing, after the money was gone.  He realized what was important.”

After reading many of these stories, it is easy to see that although the dream of financial security is a nice thought, it is nothing but an illusion to others.  We can’t purchase our happiness.  We can’t buy peace of mind.  We can’t put a price on a blessed life.  We need to value relationship over things.  We need to remember that material possessions lose their appeal over time.  We need to learn to appreciate what we have.

Today I am thankful I don’t suffer from the lottery curse (although there are days I would love to give it a try).

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