Be honest. Haven’t you dreamed of becoming a millionaire? Wait... Maybe I should ask: “Haven’t you dreamed of becoming super wealthy?” Because, let’s face it, a measly million dollars doesn’t have the same buying power these days?
Are you giggling at my sense of over inflation? Not so fast. Do a Zillow search of that beachfront home you’ve been dreaming of and you’ll likely stop sniggering. In Tampa, Florida, the median waterfront home costs a million. In Dartmouth, Massachusetts, that same modest house goes for a whopping 1.8 mil, and if your fantasy is even more tropical, it’ll cost you at least 3.8 big ones to change your address to a Honolulu.
Okay, by now you’ve probably shaken the neural dust off that abacus in your head and have calculated exactly how much you need to consider yourself stinking rich. So how are you going to achieve all that greenback (a.k.a. bitcoin, gold, tons of chocolate)?
You probably fantasize about selling the movie rights on your latest manuscript, but even the most optimistic writer knows the odds of winning the lottery are probably higher than achieving true best-seller status.
So wait? THE LOTTERY. We can win the lottery. Yeah, that’s the ticket (ever-so-sad pun intended). 😊 We'll ignore the odds---because the chances of winning the big prize in Powerball are approximately one (1) in 292,201,338. We're 20,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning. Still, we continue to buy those tickets. After all, somebody has to win, right? (HINT: if you’re looking for better odds, consider Mega Millions—approximately 1 chance in 258,890,850).
Before you pick your numbers, consider this. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, seventy percent (70%) of the winners will lose all that money within a few years. Some even think there’s a curse associated with winning the big bucks.
For example, Jack Whittaker had already accumulated his millionaire via his construction company when he won $315 million in the West Virginia lottery. He went broke four years later and lost a daughter and a granddaughter to drug overdoses.
$30 million winner, Abraham Shakespeare was found buried under concrete, having been shot twice in the chest. ABC News reported DeeDee Moore, a post-lotto win “friend” (aka cookie), was found guilty of poor Abraham’s first degree murder.
After twenty-five years of wedded bliss, Denise Rossi asked for a divorce. She had won $1.3 million and kept her secret until the divorce was final. Well…maybe the marriage wasn’t that blissful.
Billie Bob Harrell Jr. quit his Home Depot job after he won $31 million in the Texas lottery. He donated to charity, including 480 turkeys for the poor, but was soon constantly harassed for money. He separated from his wife and then committed suicide.
Sandra Hayes split the Missouri Powerball $224 million with a dozen coworkers and is now a retired social worker. In her book, How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life, she details how her closest family and friends changed. In her words, “That caused a lot of emotional pain. These are people who you’ve loved deep down, and they’re turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me.”
The stories go on and on and on… There are however, the exceptions. Richard Lustig won the grand-prize seven times and is still happily rich. Yep, you heard me: SEVEN times. He told TIME magazine, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and I like rich a whole lot better. I can’t complain.”
“Can’t complain?” he says. “Can’t complain??? Well, duh. Even worse, I think that “I’ve been rich…poor” line was first said by someone else. Even so, this former professional drummer, still has most of his earnings and has also written a book: Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery. That book is a best seller. (This author’s comment: “That ain’t right.”)
Most of the truly happy lottery winners have donated most, if not all of their winnings to charity. My favorite is Ed Nabors. This Georgia truck driver cashed in his $390 million ticket, then he called it a day and went fishing.