Wednesday, March 07, 2007

So You Want to Be a Millionaire?

Lotteries are big business and the winners in the Mega Jackpot were a major story in the news today. Lotteries attracts millions of dollars from individuals who are looking for short cuts in their move from rags to riches. One of my favorite professors, Arlie Hoover, back at Abilene Christian University, use to call lottery tickets "a tax on ignorance." The reason for this is the odds are so poor of winning (e.g., 13 million to one in California). But what about the lucky person who wins the occasional 7, 8, or even 9 digits in lottery dollars? Surely they are happy for their big win?
Well, the truth is, often they are not. After being pestered by loved ones and people they barely know for part of their winnings (you didn't earn it, and I need it), many have to move away and start a new life. Others often give the money away or spend it like there is no tomorrow and find themselves bankrupt at a much higher rate than the general population (because although they have a large sum of money, still know nothing about keeping it), the have higher rates of divorce (because spouses will often have different values and didn't realize it until they had a large sum of money), and even suicide rates because they sadly discovered the money doesn't solve all their problems.
Recently I read about 8 people who had financial ruin follow their lottery win. They reminded me how money obtained without work, often leads to personal disaster. Instead of envying those who through dollars into things like lottery and some how win. I suggest you be reminded that the real winners are the ones who make their wealth through hard ward and investment. That is the American way.

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