When the first $1 million New York Lottery jackpot came around, I was around 15. $1 million was an absolute fortune back then, and my friend Cliff really wanted us to go in together on some tickets.
But I said no. Even though I always dreamed of making it big, I didn’t want it that way, without any work.
This little story has turned into an ongoing debate in my family:
“If you could take a 'success pill' that would result in the following two scenarios, which would you choose?”
You receive a fortune instantly.
You work really hard for years and eventually become very successful, earning a fortune.
To me, there’s only one right answer.
To me, life is all about the journey, not the destination.
If you somehow manage to beat the odds and win the lottery, you'll most likely have a whole new set of problems to deal with. Life isn't going to get any easier.
Family members and friends will start asking you for money, and there's going to be a lot of pressure as to where you decide to allocate that new money. Just look at some of these stories I came across via an article on Business Insider:
Bud Post lost $16.2 million within a nightmarish year — his own brother put out a hit on him.
William "Bud" Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but was $1 million in debt within a year.
"I wish it never happened," Post said. "It was totally a nightmare."
A former girlfriend successfully sued him for a share of his winnings and his brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him in the hopes that he'd inherit a share of the winnings.
After sinking money into various family businesses, Post sank into debt and spent time in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector.
Bud now lives quietly on $450 a month and food stamps.
Lara and Roger Griffiths bought their dream home ... and then life fell apart.
Before they won a $2.76 million lottery jackpot in 2005, Lara and Roger Griffiths hardly ever argued.
Then they won and bought a million-dollar house and a Porsche.
But six years after their win, Roger drove away in the Porsche after Lara confronted him over emails suggesting that he was interested in another woman.
Their 14-year marriage was over, a freak fire gutted their house, and every penny of their fortune was gone.
family to help foot the bill for her funeral.
Michael Carroll lived in the fast lane and blew it all.
Michael Carroll was at his peak when he won Britain's £9.7 million— $15 million — jackpot in 2002, the Daily Mail reports.
But a penchant for life in the fast lane — cocaine, parties, hookers, and cars — put him back at square one in five years.
Last we heard, the ex-garbageman was hoping to get his old job back.
Sure, these are just the extremes, but you have to understand that winning the lottery has its pitfalls and shortcomings. If you really want the money so bad, go hang out with a rich relative and hope to a good chunk of their inheritance when they croak.
Seriously: the odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 302.6 million. Need I say more?! On top of that, it's important to note that the federal tax rate could take up to 37% of your income, so you wouldn't actually be making close to what is advertised.
Where does that money even go, anyway? Who the hell knows these days.
As much as we all want to win the lottery, I think we instead need to get our priorities straight and put our money into a better cause that is more likely to make an immediate impact. Donate the $1 to public schools, to charities you support, or some person or cause you believe in! Let's upgrade our public schools or local Boys & Girls clubs, so that our kids have a brighter future and can become better adults.
Instead of taking that time to wait on line and buy a lottery ticket, take that time to help build a better future for your community.
When I first started writing this blog, I always thought winning the lottery was about the same odds as getting struck by lightning. Apparently the odds of getting struck are just 1 in 3000, so be careful when you go outside during all of these storms!
Quote of the Day: "Forget the lottery. Bet on yourself instead." - Brian Koslow
Song of the Day: "The Lottery Song" by Harry Nilsson
*My latest book; "Living on Purpose: Stories about Faith, Fortune and Fitness that will lead you to an Extraordinary Life", is now available for pre-order! Click here!*