Every lottery player has often dreamed what they would do with their winnings if they were fortunate enough to win a large jackpot. The prospect of suddenly having millions of dollars makes the most rational mind indulge in flights of fancy. All lottery players at one time or another have dreamed of expensive cars, huge mansions, luxury vacations, and all the things that a lot of money can buy.
As it turns out, for some, winning the lottery has brought nothing but broken dreams and disappointment. Most lottery winners are not adept at money management and in many instances some players find themselves in a financial mess. Take the case of William Post of Pennsylvania. In 1988 Mr. Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery. Mr. Post found himself the subject of lawsuits and as if that wasn't enough his brother was arrested for trying to hire a hit man to kill him so he could inherit his new found wealth. Mr. Post also made several bad business investments and within a year found himself a million dollars in debt. Said Mr. Post, "I wish it never happened. It was totally a nightmare." Mr. Post now finds himself living on $450 a month from Social Security and food stamps.
One of the more well known cases is that of Jack Whittacker who won a $315 million Powerball jackpot in the West Virginia lottery. Mr. Whittacker chose the cash payout option and received a check for $113.4 million after taxes. Mr. Whittacker started out with good intentions donating money to several church based charities and set up a foundation to provide food and clothing to low income West Virginia residents. A month after winning Mr. Whittacker was arrested for drunk driving. His problems spiraled out of control very quickly. Mr. Whittacker spent over $100,000 at a strip club and while at the club thieves broke into his car stealing $545,000 in cash. Thieves then broke into Mr. Whittacker's car another time stealing $200,000 in cash. None of the money in either incident was ever recovered. Mr. Whittacker was the target of numerous lawsuits most of which were settled out of court.
After winning the lottery jackpot, Mr. Whittacker's life quickly spiraled out of control. He became the subject of numerous lawsuits and thieves emptied his bank accounts. For example, Mr. Whittacker was sued by an Atlantic City casino for gambling debts and was sued for wrongful death in the case of a drug overdose that occurred at his home. Mr. Whittacker has stated that he wishes he had never bought that fatal lottery ticket.
Many who win the various lotteries are not sophisticated when it comes to finances and find themselves in financial trouble fairly quickly. Says Susan Bradley author of the book Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall, "People who are not used to having money are fragile and vulnerable, and there are plenty of people out there who are willing to prey on that vulnerability - even friends and family."
Winning the lottery need not be all doom and gloom. There have been some winners who have managed their new found wealth well and many have managed to invest their winnings in such a way that they and their families will be secure for generations. Brad Duke, who took an $85 million dollar payout after winning a $220 million dollar Powerball jackpot in 2005, is an example of a winner who has used his new fortune to provide for his family's long term security. Instead of immediately spending his winnings Mr. Duke quickly assembled a team of financial advisors with the goal of becoming a billionaire in mind. Here is how Mr. Duke has spent his money so far.
$35 million: Aggressive investments like oil and gas and real estate
$1.3 million: A family foundation
$63,000: A trip to Tahiti with 17 friends
$125,000: Mortgage retired on his 1,400 square-foot house
$18,000: Student-loan repayment
$65,000: New bicycles, including a $12,000 BMC road bike
$14,500: A used black VW Jetta
$12,000: Annual gift to each family member
Obviously Mr. Duke has not indulged in the frivolous spending that seems to be the hallmark of many lottery winners. He has carefully planned his investments with long term goals in mind.
These examples represent different reactions to sudden wealth. Most of us have at some time or another fantasized about winning the Powerball or the Mega Million and what we would do with all that money. Some of us see winning the lottery as a chance to indulge is pleasures and luxuries, while others see it as an opportunity for long term security for ourselves and our families. The question is, if you were to win the lottery, which would you choose?
You may now increase your chances of achieving your dream by playing several state lotteries online from the comfort of your own home. Simply log onto your official state website. These sites explain how to purchase tickets, and often times tickets can be purchased online so you can play most state lotteries from the comfort of your own home. You can also refer to official state websites for custom lottery news. Many sites offer lottery number generators to help make your lottery number picking easier for you. If you would like to purchase your tickets in person, you can also visit a local lottery terminal. No matter how you choose to purchase your tickets, or which tickets you choose to buy, you're bound to have some fun!