In Kelly Egan’s column on the weekend, he mentions the four Ottawa people who won the $40 million Lotto 6/49 draw last week. Each of them are now $10 million richer. Is this too way much money to win?
Why do some people only buy lottery tickets when the jackpot is into the tens of millions? That always seems strange to me. Are people not interested in winning a paltry $2 million or what?
We’ve all heard about how big lottery winners’ lives tend to spiral into the toilet. Suddenly having a lot of money seems to make people go crazy, end up destitute and/or alone, tied up in lawsuits or all of the above.
When you buy a lottery ticket you buy a little bit of fantasy –what it would be like if you won the jackpot.
But what it would really be like to win a big jackpot? Anything under a couple of million is reasonable, I think – it wouldn’t completely alter your life. You’d pay off debts, maybe buy a new house or renovate the house you have now; get a new car; put something away for your kids’ educations; plan some nice holidays and pretty much carry on with your life.
Ten million dollars, on the other hand, changes everything. One of last week’s winners has a child who is a schoolmate of my daughter. My daughter came home all bedazzled last week and said it felt really weird to talk to this girl now – “like talking to a famous person,” was how she put it. The girl disappeared from Facebook over the weekend and is no longer reachable by text or talk on her cell phone.
And that’s kind of the crux of what a huge and sudden influx of money will do. Isolation is the first order of business, because winners get inundated with media, financial planners, charities, seekers of handouts…
No matter what good intentions winners might have, they can’t continue working, going to school, carrying on with their normal routines, because their lives tend to become dominated by the money. They have to deal with the money 24/7 and what the money does to people in their lives. They face resentment, envy, even danger. New multi-millionaires learn quickly to be suspicious of everyone. Families are torn apart.
The thing that would really get me, though, is that a big pile of money would take away my life’s impetus. There are things I hope for, dream of, work towards, strive for – my Bucket List. Every achievement is an important moment in my life. With a big pile of money I could buy pretty much everything on my list. And then what?
Ya, I can create a new list of wonderful things I can do with all my money, but it wouldn’t be the same.
Still… I think this is one problem I might just be willing to take on…maybe…