I Won the Lottery! Now What?

Statistically speaking, we all know that the odds of winning the lottery are low – really low – a one in 175 million chance.  However, dreaming is free, fun, and opens up some self-revelations that might be surprising.

Having just conducted a grassroots, completely unscientific survey, let’s review the findings.

  • First, there’s a running theme of generosity throughout the responses received. The first and foremost response was taking care of family and friends; 35% fell into this category.  Paying off debt, sharing winnings, paying off mortgages, building cabins, becoming self-sustaining, and for fun, taking everyone on a cruise were some of the specifics you’d do if you won the lottery.  Evidently, sharing in the riches is something you’d enjoy as a winner.
  • Contributing to causes was second at 22% of the total responses. Giving a tithe to church led the category, followed by some specific non-profits. Monies to reduce and help victims of domestic violence, providing financial support to TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), and ending gun violence were specifically mentioned.
  • Helping others, besides family/friends, was third at 16%. Providing financial assistance for veterans, building a non-profit farm, establishing an educational clinic for tutoring kids and those seeking their GED, providing housing, building a facility for animals and disabled children to interact were some of the suggested ways to provide for others.  Clearly, a lot of thought went into these responses.
  • Surprisingly, using lottery money just to benefit the winner was only 13% of the overall comments. Only one response was received for quitting work; one was to continue working with the peace of mind that it wasn’t necessary.
  • Using money to help abandoned animals and shut down kill-shelters were also a goal.
  • The last two categories were travel and relocation, each with less than 6% responses. Only one responder mentioned moving.

What do these statistics indicate?  It seems that most perceive winning the lottery as a means to help others.  Isn’t that a welcoming thought!  Caring is foremost on our minds!

Now, how do these findings stack up against comments from actual lottery winners and what they did with their money?

According to statistics, 48% of the winners continued to work in some fashion.  Some continued in their same job for a while, some changed jobs, and some used the winnings to open their own businesses.

A full 83% reportedly shared their winnings with their families.  Sadly, many reported that they lost friends after winning.  Friends either felt left out, were jealous, or couldn’t keep up with their new lifestyles and just drifted away.  Any major life change can result in a change in friendships, so perhaps this is not that surprising.

Many winners reported that winning the lottery brought much stress into their lives.  Winning was stressful and the money caused problems.  Managing and investing was difficult and proved the old saying that money doesn’t buy happiness.  Perhaps this contributed to the fact that over half of the lottery winners lost their money within five years.

So, what did we discover in this lottery winning situation?  We care about each other and want to help make lives better for our friends and families, and benefit others along the way.  That’s a good thing!  Give yourselves a hand!



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