Saturday, March 23, 2013
WINNING THE LOTTERY: WOULD IT MAKE YOU TRULY HAPPY? – A couple featured in the Daily Mail this morning; a couple who in 2005 won a staggering £1.8m and yet today, just 8 years on, that fortune has been decimated by excessive spending and all that remains of the windfall is just £7.00.
Full Story – Daily Mail
The very first reader’s comment at the end of the article was “Idiots” followed by a barrage of similar comments on how they both squandered a fortune that could have lasted them a lifetime, and made them both truly happy.
The intended words of wisdom from the Daily Mail readers were in my opinion a little short-sighted as I doubt any of them have ever won such a vast sum of money, and I suspect; without being condescending, that most are working folks who struggle to get by on a monthly basis. They simply have no idea of what extreme wealth entails or how winning the lottery can actually change a person.
If you read the full story carefully you will see that this couples marriages in now in tatters; along with the dream life they had both so much hoped for, like the millions of other people who sit in front of the TV on a Saturday night hoping that this week those elusive numbers will magically drop into place.
I, like millions of others, have never really won anything to boast about. I once won a TV at a Children’s Charity event which I then put up for auction at the event in order to raise more money for the charity – but that’s been about the extent of my luck.
The statistics show that you have a 14,000,000 to 1 chance of winning the lottery but I guess my chances are none at all considering I don’t do the lottery; but if you are one of those people who do, would it make you truly happy?
While many lottery winners decide to keep their win private there are others who decide to publicly announce their windfall. This, as many find out, can be extremely detrimental with the flood of begging letters. There is of course the dark side of those who are extremely jealous, with letters of hate and even threats to their lives.
I am sure, if you are one of those people who do the lottery, that a win running into the millions is your ultimate dream, but could you really handle the transition of having enough to having an excess? If you have never had large sums of spare cash in which affords you a lifestyle where you do not have to work and where first class travel can be taken on a whim, it can be extremely difficult to control.
The first thing people think is that they will never run out of money and that it would be impossible to spend it all in one lifetime and therefore, as in the case of this couple, go on a constant spending spree with no end in sight.
I’ll let you into a little secret. 10 years ago I was pretty well off. My wealth did not run into the tens of millions but certainly a few million. As I have already stated, I’ve never won anything other than a TV, so my money was earned through a series of investments over the years. Because I invested money I learned as I went along to control my spending – there was no way I would just rush out a buy a new Bentley or a yacht, although both were affordable. When the Banks came crashing down so did my wealth and I was completely broke; apart from the £2.37 I had in an old savings account I had completely forgotten about.
While my situation was devastating I knew the realities of investing and how quickly the markets can turn against you. Unfortunately, those who win vast sums are often ill equipped to control their spending or that of investing their winnings.
They say that money is the root of all evil but this generally acknowledged by those who don’t have it or have lost it. I have a more pragmatic approach and that is if you can make it and lose it, you can make it again. The trouble with the couple featured in the Daily Mail is that they have never earned real wealth and therefore are lost in finding a solution to turning their situation around. As the article pointed out the lady in the story is now back working all hours in the beauty salon she once owned.
Just imagine for a moment; and I’m sure those of you who do the lottery have, what you would do with such a vast windfall. I can imagine most people have a list, New Car, New House, Exotic Holidays, Sipping Champagne, Expensive Restaurants’, a New wardrobe… the list goes on and all of this will quickly burn through cash.
The couple featured in the Daily Mail article are not the first to go public on how they squandered a lifetime of money is just a few years and they certainly will not be the last. Few, if any, lottery winners will sit back and not spend anything for a month; which is really what you should do. Even when I had money, and yes I’m working on restoring my wealth, I had spreadsheets on my computer so I knew at any given point what I was worth, where the money was, how it was performing and what was available to spend. I did have all the trappings of wealth but I never used my base cash to purchase anything – it was all money earned from interest so the capital stayed intact.
I personally don’t feel these people are idiots or foolish, they were simply ill equipped to handle such a huge windfall and after years of struggling to get by, then all of a sudden having so much, is surely a dizzying experiences and one where you would feel financially invincible.
I can tell you that being wealthy is a fabulous thing and that being poor is completely miserable, but money is not the root of all evil, it is a tool, which when properly controlled and managed, can provide you with a very comfortable lifestyle that will make you truly happy.