Why you Might Not Want to Win the Lottery

[326/365]  Lottery Money

Article by Wendy McCance

Like many people I know, I just couldn’t resist getting a few lottery tickets.  I have only played the lottery a few times.  Generally I get sucked into buying a few tickets when I see every channel on my tv discussing the frenzy over a big pot.

The other day our family got 3 tickets.  We wanted to up our chances, but of course didn’t want to go crazy buying huge amounts of tickets.  The tickets were put up on the refrigerator with a magnet and we crossed our fingers.

Of course we didn’t win.  What we did get out of the experience was a clarification about what was important to us.  The family discussed winning over dinner.  Each kid talked about what they would like to have if we came into some extra money.

My oldest daughter wanted an ice rink in the backyard (we build one almost every year, but she thought she would just throw that out there).  She also wanted some private ice skating lessons and a membership to a crossfit gym.  Being the sensible girl she is, she mentioned that she would wait to sign up for classes because she didn’t want it to get in the way of her studies.

My youngest daughter was more simple in her choices.  An iPad and Lululemon active wear would thrill her.

My son went all out on his choice.  He wanted the fastest go-cart we could find.

My husband and I talked about what we would do with the money.  A family vacation topped our list.  We would use some of the money to give to friends and family (we liked the idea of sharing the wealth and making life a little easier for those around us).  We also would trade up our home to a house with two rooms for personal studios.  We want a room for my husbands projects and a room for my writing and art work.

The big question was would we still work.  We are really enjoying our jobs.  My husband feels challenged and is accomplishing quite a few work goals.  He loves his company and the people he works with.  He is also interested in seeing how far he can take his career.

I am in a similar position.  I love my job, company and the people I work with.  I feel like I am achieving so much and want to see what the future holds for me there.

Beyond our jobs, my husband and I have these creative streaks that grab a hold of us.  We will spend hours if not days on projects at home.  The opportunity to have unlimited time to go wild with ideas did thrill us.

What I have realized is that both my husband and I thrive on experiences.  We are determined to achieve some great things at work.  If we won all of that money, would we still feel passionate and disciplined enough to stay at our jobs and see where we could take our careers?

My gut feeling is we would give up quite a bit that means a lot to us currently.  The temptation of freedom, to pack up and explore the world would be too much to ignore.  I know we would want to spend more time with the kids, friends and family.  Life wouldn’t stop for others though.  We might have an endless amount of time on our hands, but others would still be carving out their life with endless obligations.

I think in the short-term, the money would be incredible.  We would tackle all of our wishes and dreams.  In the long-term, I think we would become bored and undisciplined.  We would have to relearn how to lead our lives in a way that created emotional value for ourselves.

In the end, I think the people who won smaller amounts of money playing the lottery made out the best.  They will receive enough money to enjoy some extra perks, but won’t have the exhaustion of relearning how to live their life.  They won’t have endless requests from others for cash and they will never wonder what accomplishments they could have had if they never came into money and had to push themselves to realize their dreams.

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photo by: Lisa Brewster

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

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12 thoughts on “Why you Might Not Want to Win the Lottery

  1. Great article, Wendy! A few months ago the Today show had a segment on people that won large amounts of money through lotteries and found that the biggest mistake most made was to instantly quit their jobs (and benefits). Also found that many lost friends/relatives as well as ‘gaining’ new friends/long-lost relatives in hopes of cashing in on their ‘friend/relative’s new-found wealth. I liked your family’s ideas, but I also know as a recovering compulsive gambler, that sometimes it’s that first ‘win’ (no matter how much) that can hook them into bigger problems and then, ‘enough is never enough’. Thanks for all of your thought-provoking and well-written articles.

  2. I take your point but if won the lottery (which I will never do as I don’t buy lottery tickets) then I would still be ambitious and work incredibly hard at doing more and more with my writing. Writing is my life and world and if I won enough money to be able to spend all of my days doing that and learning whatever I want to learn, then I would be so happy. Bring it on! So if anyone wants to kindly donate me a winning lottery ticket, I would gladly accept it.

  3. Money is like a gun or “mean-breed” dog. It’s not the weapon itself. It’s what you do with it. We took a financial planning class at our church about a year and a half ago. We have a road map. With or without the lottery, the knowledge of what to do with the money is a winning lottery ticket in and of itself. I’m perfectly happy with the life I have. I’d love to have my nursing license, but that’s more on me to study for it. The lottery isn’t going to buy me that. My kids are healthy and happy. My husband was on medical leave this year for 6 mos. He realized being home is a great thought, but it’s not something he can do. He loves his job and what he does. He wishes he had one more day off during the week. If I could indulge for a moment: I’d love to win the lottery just to see how much interest I could earn on that money and watch it grow. That’s all I could do. My experiences with my family - money can’t buy that. The rest is geography. Great post, Wendy, as always.


  4. I think about what I could do with the money to help others,like provide some future security for my children and their families, but I really don’t need anything myself. Sure I would probably take a trip, I’ve always wanted to see Ireland. But the loss of privacy and the strangers (and relatives) who come out of the wood work wanting handouts would drive me crazy. A relative won just over $80,000 once after taxes. It was gone before three months time, and then she went into debt having to eventually declare bankruptcy. For some the new habit of buying whatever is available is too hard to unlearn when the money runs out.

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