What Winning the Lottery Teaches Us About Money

How many times have you joked about winning the lottery? The ultimate fantasy…being handed piles of money for no reason other than a $3 ticket and a random number. Suddenly life is good, and you never have to worry about money again–talk about living the dream!

You know there’s a catch, right? Ever heard of the so-called “lottery curse”? 

Many people who win the lottery end up squandering all that money, they get depressed, their marriages end–and some winners meet a tragic end.

There are countless stories of people wishing they had never won. (Seriously.)

The National Endowment for Financial Education estimates that around 70% of people who receive a large cash windfall will lose it within a few years.

WHAT IN THE WORLD?  So money…DOESN’T buy happiness after all?

It’s complicated. Sudden windfalls of that kind of money is a fantasy that the vast majority of people will never experience. If you DO experience it–and you’ve never had money before–your entire life changes in one second. As amazing as that is, it’s also something you couldn’t possibly prepare for. And while money solves some problems, it can also CREATE other problems.

Money buys freedom, which is an essential part of happiness–but it doesn’t buy a whole lot of other things that we tend to value in our lives. Money won’t buy love, it won’t buy a sense of purpose. 

Many lottery winners tend to spend big and lavishly, quit their jobs, and buy expensive homes. They start looking around at all the parts of their lives and wonder–do they measure up? Maybe the loyal spouse you’ve been with for 30 years isn’t looking so good anymore, now that you have money and you’re suddenly more “attractive.” Family members come out of the woodwork, wanting more and more from you. 

This is the most extreme example we can think of when it comes to the psychology of money– and what happens when someone has not done the emotional work to have a healthy relationship with their finances. 

We have to see money as a TOOL rather than a SOLUTION. A huge windfall, turns out, doesn’t solve all your problems, and it can even create some brand new ones. 

Your money mindset is running the show, not the money itself. When you have a healthy mindset around money, it becomes the tool you need it to be. You can stop placing these broad, unrealistic expectations on money and instead use it to create and live the life you truly want to live.

We’d like to believe we’d handle a large windfall better than most (and please, Universe, give us a chance to try!). In the meantime, we’ll be over here building wealth the old fashioned way 😂