Why It May Be best to Keep Working after Winning a Lottery

by Krantcents · 14 comments

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You are working hard, holding down a necessary job to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.  You devote personal time to commute back and forth daily, and you’re just trying to keep the wolves from the door.  Suddenly, the unthinkable happens.  You purchased a winning lottery ticket and now you are a sudden multi-millionaire and your first thought as you calculate the winnings is that you will never have to work another day in your life.

Impulsively, you go to work the next day and, even though you do not yet have the money in hand, you just cannot find the motivation to keep up with the grind of it all: the stress, the time away from the kids, the wasted time commuting, the wear and tear on your car.  Why?  If you’re working just to provide an income to keep the family intact, you have just relieved all of that necessity.

You stop by the boss’s office and cheerfully advise him that you are quitting your job, effective immediately.  If the boss complains that you need to offer a two-week notice, what is the company going to do, fire you for breaking policy?  And?  You just won the lottery.

Then you swing by the auto dealer on your way home, just to look around and you realize that you can replace the faded car you drove to the dealer and in just a week or so, you can buy anything on the lot for cash with a negotiated discount.  No discount for cash?  So what?  You just won the lottery.

And tonight, you take the family out to dinner to the most elegant restaurant in town; whatever they want on the menu is theirs for the asking.

You have not even received a dime of the lottery and you’re already spending money like it is a renewable resource of no effort to obtain.

So far, your track is entirely predictable because statistics indicate that you are going through exactly the same motions as most lottery winners as if it was a singular brain driving all of them through a routine.  It’s a brain that appears incapable of thinking through sudden circumstance.

You may have even read that most lottery winners end up poorer than when they won and, right now, you cannot imagine how they could be so stupid.  So did they.

How can you make it a different and happier ending?

First, it may be best to re-think quitting your job.  Sure, take a vacation, but there is thinking and learning to do.  Just because you’re a millionaire does not mean you know how to handle that much money, even if you decide to take the lottery winnings in a structured settlement rather than a lump-sum payment.  That can be changed later.

You need to be able to stay focused on remaining active during the day.  If you want to have your dream job, get the education necessary and go for it, but keep an active and challenged mind and body running.

You need to learn how to handle your money so it does not slip through your fingers in five years.  Buy that expertise from a capable source.  That is probably not your brother-in-law.

Be generous, if you wish, to charities who are worthy of the donation.  That does not include every cousin you never heard from before but who suddenly comes to the door.  Your mom and dad, sure; they sacrificed much for you.  Take care of your kids and their education.

But continue working to keep your self-esteem

Photo by:  Flickr

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dojo December 22, 2013 at 4:24 am

If you are being smart (and purchasing a new expensive car and squandering money in restaurants IS NOT smart), you can clearly get a very good life after winning the lottery and not have to work anymore. I wouldn’t go to a job I hated just to keep my ‘esteem’. I would focus on a business idea though (something small that I enjoy) to keep myself occupied, make sure most of the money is saved and planned for the future.

Krantcents December 22, 2013 at 9:48 am

There is a lot to be said for keeping your routines when a windfall occurs. I think small changes is always a good choice whether you are just trying to accomplish something or deal with a windfall.

Holly@ClubThrifty December 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I watched a documentary about the curse of the lottery once and the basic premise was that large jackpots have a tendency to ruin people’s lives. I would need to work or stay busy if I ever won the lottery!

Krantcents December 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Unfortunately,the winners are generally the least prepared for a windfall I guess it is the nature of playing the lottery!

Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa December 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

This is a problem I would love to have. I would definitely keep my job though. Life isn’t about money, and I like doing work that matters.

Krantcents December 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I agree! Besides, you a should never make big changes in your life. I always find this a much easier question because I am more prepared than you average lottery player although I play it so infrequently.

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