GUEST VIEW: Billion dollar jackpot not always worth it

The following editorial was published in the Jan. 11 edition of the Midland Daily News:

(TNS) If you’ve been following the news lately, you probably know that the Powerball jackpot reached ridiculous amounts.

This past week, the jackpot hit a record $950 million — and no one won. On Wednesday, the jackpot’s estimated worth [was] $1.3 billion. That’s right — billion.

Seriously, who ever would have thought that a lottery would be giving away $1.3 billion. It’s mind-boggling.

What would life be like to win that much money? After spending the first $200 million or so, what would a person do with the remaining millions upon millions of dollars?

Be careful, the lottery is not all what it’s cracked up to be. Story after story has been written about how lottery winners have seen their lives ruined by a sudden influx of overwhelming riches.

Noted financial expert Dave Ramsey wrote: “Many poor people are fooled by what they think it means to win the lottery. It’s usually the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. Coming into a quick pile of cash usually means that people will come out of the woodwork looking to get a piece of your pie. Third cousins whom you didn’t even know existed will call and hit you up for money. You’ll get letters in the mail from complete strangers with every sob story imaginable (unemployed, sick children, in a wheelchair, etc.) in an attempt to get sympathy points and money from you. It puts a big target on your back, and most often it takes you out, too.”

Do a Google search, “how the lottery ruined my life,” and you’ll see numerous links that tell very sad stories of families being destroyed and relationships ruined because of instant riches via winning a lottery.

Let’s be honest, it’s great to dream about being a millionaire, and wonder how life would be different if you were rich. No more having to work. Travel. Leisure pursuits. It’s what a lot of people dream about if they’re financially independent.

But the reality is that there’s a price to be paid after becoming an instant millionaire. And the truth is, it’s not always a happy life.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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