Dian's Column
Dian's Archive


Winning lottery brings money and often bad decisions

By Dian Vujovich

Well, I’ve just looked at my two losing lottery tickets. Both bought Wednesday at Main Street News. Told the gal behind the counter that I only wanted the winning numbers. She gave me one of those,”Yeah, that’s what everybody says,” mind looks.

As you’ve not doubt guessed, the numbers the Florida Lottery machine spit out and I took home were losers. Not even one-sters. But a few times a month I keep going for the chance and the dream of winning. Preferring, of course, the randomly selected numbers to those with meaning.

I know people who only play their own numbers week in and week out. The digits chosen usually have some special meaning, like a birth date, wedding date, number of kids, etc. I can’t do that because if “my numbers” (people always seem to place ownership on them) ever popped up on a day when I didn’t play, well I’d have to jump off of my first floor balcony.

But if my numbers, those random ones, ever did come up, what a day it would be. I’ve fantasized about that day so often, and so deeply, it feels as though I’ve actually won a big fat money prize a time or two. I have a very good imagination.

Plus, I know exactly what I’d do with the prize: Take the lump sum then invest and spend—in that order. If the dollars were huge enough, I’d even move into a grand hotel where everybody knows my name. Thank you, “Cheers.”

But apparently not everybody does know what to do with his or her lottery prize winnings. According to recent research about Florida lottery prizewinners, many end up losers five years after taking home their booty.

Researchers looked at 35,000 people who won money in Florida’s Fantasy 5 lottery game and cross-referenced that with those who had filed Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions. The results: 5.5 percent of large or small jackpot winners were likely to declare bankruptcy roughly five years after their pay day.

That’s not a big percentage but enough of one to make us realize that winning money doesn’t automatically make one a money manager.

” I was struck by the fact that when the recipients of large sums did file for bankruptcy, they didn’t have much of anything to show for the winnings they had received,” says Mark Hoekstra, assistant economics professor at Pittsburgh and co-author of the study.” It didn’t go toward a house, paying down debts or buying assets that were worth something a few years later.”

So much for putting what Hoekstra says could be “a life-changing amount of money” to good use.

Read more about this research at: http://tinyurl.com/39m6aem.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

[ top ]