Wouldn’t it be wonderful to win the lottery? Imagine all the things you could do with a huge jackpot prize. Buy a new house. A new car. Travel around the world. Save for your children’s education. Make generous donations to charity. Quit your job. Relax. Enjoy life.
In short, winning the lottery sounds like a short cut to happiness.
You would think that lottery jackpot winners must be the happiest people on earth. But just like the song lyrics that say ‘money can’t buy you love’, winning the lottery can’t buy you happiness. Or can it?
Amazingly, nearly 70 percent of people who suddenly come into a large amount of money will end up losing it within a few years, according to a study conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education. A spokesman for the non-profit organization says, “The perception is that you’re never going to worry about money again. In fact, you’re going to have to worry about it more than you ever, ever have before.”
“So many [lottery winners] wind up unhappy or wind up broke,” says Don McNay, a financial consultant to lottery winners and author of Life Lessons from the Lottery. “People have had terrible things happen,” he adds.
Possibly these harsh warnings should warn us to refrain from buying tickets to the biggest draws in Europe of the EuroMillions lottery, or to the biweekly Powerball draws, the American lottery which awarded the biggest jackpot ever, $1.58 billion, a prize that was shared by three lucky winners in January 2016.
But this is not the case. We continue to buy lottery tickets and we continue to dream, fantasizing about what we will do when we win. The stories of lottery winners who do not lose their money, and who contribute some of their funds to good causes, encourage us to keep playing. If they manage to stay happy after winning the lottery, certainly we can as well.
Apparently the best judge of whether you’ll be happy if you were to win the lottery is how well you manage your emotions. Winning a lottery prize would suddenly throw you into the spotlight. You would become an overnight celebrity and the focus of people asking for a share of your good fortune. If you can handle that, and if you manage your finances wisely so that you don’t waste your lottery windfall all at once, there’s a good chance you’ll be happy in the aftermath of a lottery win.
Winning the lottery isn’t a cure-all for your problems, but it can make your life a lot easier. If you are in general a happy person, and you take care not to go overboard with your jackpot prize, you will remain a happy person after you win the lottery.