Seventy percent of lottery winners go broke within five years of winning.
“If I won a million dollars…” is an old dream tangled in misfortune. How can this be? After all, it’s a gateway to financial freedom. With a quick search of the internet, one will find that the number one reason that they go broke is taxes. Who knew that free money was taxed? In some places, that fee can be as high as 45 percent. I suppose a 50% tax would look too greedy.
Another reason for losing everything is the fact Lottery winners feel obligated to family. Share the wealth they say. “You can afford it.” This scenario plays out until the money is gone, leaving the family wondering why “the winners” are tight with the money that the family blew. And of course, once they learn that the money is gone, lottery recipients get the family reputation of not being good with money. Friends are just as bad. This factor is why there is a stereotype of the financially wealthy and seclusion.
If given the option, most of us would opt for the lump sum rather than annuity payout. But little do we realize taking “the lump sum,” can leave us with 60-70% of the winnings. This deduction does not include taxes. Is it any wonder why we would ever choose the annuity in a world obsessed with instant gratification?
Another factor falls under the way we perceive our winnings versus our earnings. We are less likely to splurge the money we “earned.” The fact remains that money is money. But for some strange reason, we feel that the money we won is more fluid. Easy come, easy go, right? We can afford this and that. When the truth is, that money would make for an excellent IRA. But that is boring. I know.
There is a bit of euphoria that most winners encounter. They feel compelled to buy bigger homes or more luxurious cars. But with luxuries come luxury taxes, and that bigger house costs more to heat and cool, not to mention uses more electricity.
And lastly, they don’t seek advice from professional counselors. I mean, all they’re going to say is that we should invest it and save for a great retirement. Still boring. Across the board, both men and women have a hard time asking for financial advice. We may appear juvenile if we ask for financial help. After all, we know how to manage our accounts. We’re responsible adulting adults.
Now let’s take a moment to look at our happiness.
There are similarities between lottery winners and happy people. The term happy people refer to the self-motivating go-getter who chooses to look on the bright side of life. Their happiness is deliberate, and the results of the choices they make. But, this happiness can be lost.
It may come as a shocker to some, but life is full of stress. This stress is taxing on our soul. Just like the lottery tax, it takes more out than we expect. Due to this stress, we must have down-time or quiet moments to recharge. We cannot stay happy every day. We ride on an emotional roller coaster with ups and downs with every turn. Each day presents new challenges. Those that don’t prepare for these daily challenges may find themselves overwhelmed.
Learn from the lottery winners who went bankrupt. Friends and family are another reason for depression. Happy people are, well, happy. And they can afford to listen to our problems. Every one of us knows over 100 people. Imagine a bombardment of 100 complaining souls. It would wear us down. Who wants to listen to negativity all the time? It is essential to say, “I cannot listen at this moment.” We are not obligated to give an ear to every drama-lama. Listen to others on our terms. If we are feeling up for listening, then it is our choice. However, if we are not, then it is our choice as well. We should never force our problems on others, nor should they force their problems on us.
Instant satisfaction may prove disappointing. In a world of fast cars, fast food, and quick deliveries, we love “instant.” But, with instant gratification comes instant disappointment. The glamour fades, and we face the truth that our expectations exceeded our reality. It is crucial to take the rose shades off and meet the true colors of life. Things worth having take time. And once we find that thing-of-happiness we should invest more time and energy into developing it, for example, quality friends. Quality friends are those that support us as we support them. They bring as much happiness into our lives as we try to bring into theirs. This type of joy develops over time. It also includes family members who have our best interests. It is easier for family member to become toxic due to the fact that we will always be family. Friends do not that this freedom/obligation. Some members are here to mooch off of everyone. And when they don’t receive their payment, they cry about blood being thicker than water. Never argue with stupid people. They will beat you down with their ignorance.
The longer we invest our time into a situation or person, the more likely we are to stay committed. This statement doesn’t hold up in all scenarios. But for the most part, it does. Why? Because we do not want to say we wasted our time. Doing so may bring on the feeling of failure. And no one wants to fail. We want to be successful and prosper. This fact brings me to my next point.
When we are happy, there is a level of euphoria that we experience. Life is good. So much so that we want to share it. We want to make others feel the same great feeling that we have. Unfortunately, we cannot make everyone happy. If we try to make everyone feels as great as we do, we will only end up disappointed and deflated. We can be there for others, but we cannot make them happy.
Now the last part of this is the hardest. Seeking help or assistance is not always easy. “Why do I need to see a shrink? I’m not crazy.” And that is the most crucial reason to seek professional counsel. We are not crazy, but it helps to have a non-bias conversation.
In most cases, we are given support and encouragement. We all need this. Psychiatrists are not in the position of judging but analyzing and figuring out the source of complication that one may encounter. Never underestimate the value of sage advice. Some reputable psychiatrists are worth visiting. Some people are in it for the money. Research and find out who the majority of people visit. Notice I didn’t say suggest. Quality references don’t come from hearsay.
There we have it, how a happy person resembles a lottery winner. The difference lies with how we handle ourselves. Life is sweeter with happiness. Learning how to maintain and preserve it is essential, and knowing what to do with our lottery winnings. There are a lot of people who would love to have our happiness. But, that would require change on their part, and it’s easier to bring others down. Find quality friends and support each other. You are worth every bit of support that you give others.
Until the next blog, live life and be happy.