10 Reasons You'll Probably Be Happier NOT Winning The Lottery

The lottery craze is out of control!


There's nothing wrong with dreaming you've won the lotto, until you actually win, and reality hits. The underlying question for the lucky winner is, what the hell are you going to do with all that money, besides swim in it like Scrooge McDuck from the defunct Disney cartoon Ducktails?

Well, whatever you choose to do with your earnings (if you win), please keep these 10 gems of advice from past lotto winners, and research studies, in your back pocket. It may help you to keep things into perspective down the road.

1. It's a hustle.

I hate being the one to piss on your parade, but the truth is that the lotto industry loves taking your money in exchange for a pipe dream. Back in May, The Atlantic reported that the lottery industry racked up more than $70 billion in sales in more than 43 states where the drawing is legal.

...According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, lotteries took in $70.1 billion in sales in the 2014 fiscal year. That's more than Americans in all 50 states spent on sports tickets, books, video games, movie tickets, and recorded music sales.

And that's not the only shocking part of their billion-dollar hustle. The Atlantic also reported that a North Carolina report from NC Policy Watch stated that of 20 counties with poverty rates above 20 percent, 18 had lottery sales that topped the statewide average of $200 per adult. In other words, the lottery preys on the poor.

North Carolina is only one state used in this example, but do yourselves a favor, and go to a convenience store in a well-to-do neighborhood, and count how many advertisements you see for the lottery. It probably won't be that many around.

2. Rich people still won't like you.

One writer with Reader's Digest recounted how she invited her new, rich neighbors to a Fourth of July barbecue. She later found out the hard way that her generous invite was all in vain.

After we won and moved into an exclusive neighborhood, we planned a huge Fourth of July party and invited all our neighbors. None of them came—they thought we didn't earn our money.

3. Think you're going to divorce your bae if you win? Think again!

One lotto winner tried to keep her jackpot earnings a secret from her husband, and let's just say things didn't end in her favor. According to PopSugar:

Thomas and Denise Rossi were married for 25 years without any marital issues. Then, out of the blue, she asked for a divorce. Little did her husband know that days before filing, she had won $1.3 million, a secret she kept throughout the divorce proceedings. Once the truth came out, a judge found her guilty of violating California's disclosures law and awarded the entire winnings to her ex-husband.

4. Count the number of times you've been struck by lightning twice, and those are your odds of winning.

I know it sucks reading it, but it's true. According to FiveThirtyEight.com writer, and all around math nerd, Walter Hickey:

...Lastly, from the point of view of state revenue, this totally justifies the October change that lowered the odds of winning from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292 million. (You are vastly more likely to get struck by lightning twice in your lifetime.)

5. OMG! Taxes, ugh!

Don't be so quick to say you're a billionaire if you hit the jackpot. That money has to be taxed! According to Powerball's website:

A winner would have the option of being paid $1.3 billion through annual payments over 29 years or opting for one $806 million cash payment. But 39.6 percent of the lump sum would go to federal income taxes.

By the way, virtually no one has taken the annual payments. Just putting that out there.

6. Please skip out on your squad.

If you truly expect to hit the jackpot, I would advise you to start listening to Drake's music, and pronto. "No New Friends" will be your new theme song when you hit big, because your squad is going to step to you with their hands out, and their pockets empty--and that gets old. 24/7 Wall Street advises:

Taking you and your favorite 50 people on a luxury cruise around the world can become very expensive, very fast. Having an entourage generally only works for people who keep making more money, and entourages have bankrupted many musicians and athletes.

7. Hitting the jackpot doesn't always mean financial security.

This may be a tough pill for many to swallow. In a 2011 study, researchers from the University of Kentucky, University of Pittsburgh, and Vanderbilt University examined whether winning the lotto would lead to permanent financial security. Let's just say that the more cash you win, the more likely you are to file for bankruptcy.

Relatively large winners, who received between $50,000 and $150,000, were just as likely to file for bankruptcy after several years, than small winners of $1,000 or so — the control group. Plenty of winners, in other words, spent all that they won — and then some. Relatively big winnings merely delayed bankruptcy for many of these people, the authors said.

What's even more sad was that another study found that lotto winners spent all of their earnings within five years.

8. Don't quit your day job, and don't hook your mama up with a new crib.

When you hit the lotto, everyone and their mama, including yours, is going to expect you to hook them up with some dough. Wrong move! In report from AZ Central:

"It's tempting for a lottery winner to quit his or her job or immediately splurge on a mansion or other large purchase — don't," advises Chicago securities attorney Andrew Stoltmann. "The worst decisions made by lottery winners are usually the first few decisions."

9. Trust no one, not even charities.

As if you didn't have enough problems in your life, criminals will see you as an easy target once you hit the lotto. Many newly minted ballers have fallen victim to charity scams, which ended in them losing a lot of money, and possibly their religion, in the process.

But more sadly, being murdered for your cash is a very scary, and real, possibility. That's exactly what happened to one generous lotto winner, who died at the hands of a greedy "new friend."

The story of ‪Abraham Shakespeare is a truly tragic one. The Florida man had dropped out of school in seventh grade and could not read. At the age of 40, he won the $30 million jackpot. After he won, he couldn't say no to those who asked for money, even letting homeless ‬people live in his home. That trust could have been his downfall. After Dorice Donegan "Dee-Dee" Moore "befriended" Abraham, he went missing. He was eventually found buried in a concrete slab at the home of Moore's boyfriend, and she was convicted of his murder.

10. You may be a lot happier being broke.

I know you read that sentence and thought I was crazy for writing it, but it's true. When Biggie said "Mo Money, Mo Problems," he meant it. Take it from William "Bud" Post, an Oil City, Pennsylvania man who hit the a $16.2 million jackpot in 1988, then immediately wished he never did.

"Everybody dreams of winning money, but nobody realizes the nightmares that come out of the woodwork, or the problems."For Post, who died in 2006, there were a lot of problems: a landlady who forced him to give her a third of his jackpot, a brother who hired a hit-man to kill him and his sixth wife, an assault conviction — just to name a few.
"I was much happier when I was broke," he once said.

Besides, people who make time a priority in their lives are much happier people.

"People who prioritize time over money make more effort to invest in activities that are expected to generate a more stable sense of happiness or enjoyment, such as developing strong social relationships, finding enjoyable hobbies and exercising," Gary Buffone, a psychologist and expert on happiness and money, told TODAY in response to the findings


If you do happen to win the lotto, take billionaire entrepreneur, and Shark Tank judge, Mark Cuban's advice. He knows a thing or two about handling lots of money, and had this to say to the next jackpot winner.

Hire a tax attorney first. And don't take the lump sum. You don't want to blow it all in one spot. If you weren't happy yesterday you won't be happy tomorrow. It's money. It's not happiness. If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It's money. Life gets easier when you don't have to worry about the bills.
Tell all your friends and relatives no. They will ask. Tell them no. If you are close to them, you already know who needs help and what they need. Feel free to help SOME, but talk to your accountant before you do anything and remember this, no one needs 1m dollars for anything. No one needs 100k for anything. Anyone who asks is not your friend.
You don't become a smart investor when you win the lottery. Don't make investments. You can put it in the bank and live comfortably. Forever. You will sleep a lot better knowing you won't lose money.

Even though this news seems awful, it shouldn't stop you from playing the Powerball. Just remember to play, and live, responsibly. Just saying.

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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