Before you play, read this and ask yourself: Is it really worth it?
I’ve been doing some end-of-year cleaning and organizing. Last night while moving folders and files I came across an old file titled Lottery “Winners”. The folder had a few newspaper clippings in it with titles like, “Lottery winner arrested again” and “Jackpot winner hits a bad stretch.”
We hear the stories and maybe even know a few ourselves, about the rancorous quibbling amongst siblings when one wins big. According to this story 65% of all lottery winners are bankrupt in 15 years. Furthermore, their divorce rate is four times the national average. The story also notes that the average lottery gambler spend $700 a year on the game, which isn’t too bad if you can afford it. Many cannot.
The unbelievable size of the purses is what sets people off on a feeding frenzy. The Powerball purse is in the neighborhood of $600 million. The odds of winning are pretty slim, as in finding a specific grain of sand on South Beach. And that Mega Millions purse is, well… somewhere in the neighborhood of Ev Williams’ net worth, as in 1.6 billion, so there will be plenty of players ponying up for the next drawing, even with the odds of being unhappy afterwards being so high.
Here’s another reason it may not be fun to be a lottery winner. The paparazzi. Win a few million bucks and the reporters want your story. I can’t begin to imagine the media feeding frenzy with the first billion dollar winner. According to one Forbes article*, winning the lottery could be a curse, not a blessing. “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it,” is a fairly well-worn adage, and totally apropos.
The story cites Jack Whitaker who says, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.” Willie Seeley was quoted as saying, “There are days I wish we were back to just getting paid every two weeks.” I had a friend who used to say that lotteries were invented by the rich in order to give poor people a dream of being rich. Why? So the rich won’t be hated so much because these dreamers may become one some day. I dunno. What I do know is that the more you own the more you have to worry about. I also know that there are some really big jackpots out there now. And I’ll admit, I have played once in a while. Is it O.K. to just go after the $100,000 prize? I’d like to believe I could handle that.
Originally published at pioneerproductions.blogspot.com