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Helen Asks: ‘How does winning the lottery change your life for the worse?’


If you won millions in the lottery what would you do with the money?

Millions of people buy tickets every week hoping that this time they will be lucky. The odds of winning the jackpot are around 14 million to 1 yet people are still drawn into play by the massive sums available to win every week.

Everyone dreams of the millionaire lifestyle but for many ‘lucky’ winners the dream soon became a nightmare.

The following examples explain how suddenly gaining an obscene amount of money over-night can lead to relationship breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and even death!article-1249209-02C376E40000044D-368_233x416

In 2002 Michael Carroll (left) made the headlines in the UK by winning £9.7 million in the national lottery. He turned up to receive his cheque still wearing his electronic offenders tag after a history of criminal convictions. Within less than 10years he had managed to blow all of his winnings on drugs, gambling and prostitutes amongst other bad choices.

His wife has now left him and he is back to living off the dole. His antics have earned him the nicknames ‘The King of Chavs’ and ‘The Lotto Lout’ titles he appears to be proud of when questioned about his behaviour. The media also revealed that recently he has attempted suicide due to depression and alcoholism.

By comparison far better things could have been done with the money. Other Lottery winners have chosen to use some of their winnings to help people or have given a percentage to charity.

It just goes to show the Lottery does not discriminate; anyone can win even if they really shouldn’t! This fact leads to a string of questions:

Do people who are already rich deserve to win the Lottery?

When Jack Whittaker of West Virginia won a record $314.9 million in 2002 he was already a wealthy businessman. He had a comfortable lifestyle, a good job and a family.

He did some good with the money by donating a ‘small’ amount to his local church but the rest of his winnings led to trouble.

The publicity from the win triggered a tragic chain of events. He was threatened and robbed several times thieves broke into his car and stole money from him. In another incident two other people plotted to drug Whittaker and steel his money.jack-whittaker

His behaviour also got him into trouble. He got arrested for drunk driving and for threatening a bar tender. He also got into financial difficulties due to gambling debts and law suits from people who claimed that he owed them money.

His family was also greatly affected, both his daughter and granddaughter were found dead of suspected overdoses.

He won the most money out of everybody and everything that could possibly go wrong did. He is now left with no family and no money. He later said ‘I wish I had torn that ticket up.’

By contrast, Pennsylvanian Lottery winner William ‘Bud Post grew up in an orphanage and was poor. In theory winning a large amount of money would change his life for the better and he out of anyone should deserve to do so.

However, like all the others he soon became broke from spending on frivolous things after he won £16.2 million in 1988.

In the end he claimed that he was happier when he was poor.

Does money affect relationships?

In short, yes. Many Lottery winners have ended up divorced or separated shortly after winning millions.

Callie Rogers from Cumbria UK was just 16 when she won nearly £2 Million. Just like many of the adult winners she quickly wasted most of the money on holidays, homes and shopping.article-1208498-0627B6C8000005DC-993_468x628

She also gave a lot of the money away to family, friends and boyfriends in an attempt to make them happy. She got into a relationship with a criminal and had two children with him, the relationship eventually ended after a turbulent relationship.

She learned too late that you cannot buy friendship and love because these people will only be after you for your money. It is sad that friends and family can easily become jealous of Lottery winners and think that they are entitled to a piece of the fortune.

She is now penniless, in debt and trying to pick her life up again after two suicide attempts. Callie claims that winning the money has ruined her life and she wishes she never had.

When Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois Lottery in 1986 those close to him became very jealous. He grew up poor and showered his friends and family with expensive gifts. Despite being very generous with his money he was later murdered by his greedy sister-in-law after she demanded more from him and was refused.

Does winning the Lottery further fuel addiction problems?

A large percentage of Lottery winners either become bankrupt due to gambling debts or by feeding other forms of addiction.

After Willie Hurt won $3.1 million in the Michigan Lottery in 1989 he soon blew the whole lot on his crack cocaine addiction and ended up on trial for murdering a woman over drugs.

The novelty of material things such as cars, houses and designer clothes makes us happy for a short time so we want more of them to get that feeling back again. It is easy to see how people with millions get into extreme spending habits especially if they are not used to having luxuries._47311481_viv_nicholson_getty_226

In the 1960s Vivian Nicholson famously blew all of her £152,300 (or £3million in today’s money) on filling her wardrobe with designer clothes. In her own words she said that she would ‘spend, spend, spend,’ and she did. She later married five times, suffered a stroke and has been treated for alcoholism and metal health issues.

A West End play titled ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ was written about her life.

Evelyn Adams from New Jersey became famous for not only winning the Lottery once but winning it yet again despite the odds during the 1980s. She was a heavy gambler who lost all of her winnings to this addiction.

She now lives in a trailer park and claims that if she won a third time she would not make the same mistake again, this is somewhat hard to believe.

The tragic cases above prove that money not earned through hard work is not valued but instead treated as a novelty. This is possibly why these people have chosen to squander money on materialistic and meaningless possessions in the pursuit of happiness rather than do the sensible thing and invest in security and the future.

When you have what seems like a ‘bottomless pit of money’ thoughts of how you will survive and have important needs met throughout life gets forgotten and replaced by immediate wants. These wants become an addiction.

The old saying is true: money really cannot always make you happy.

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