8
April
2011

The Final Outcome1

Throughout this blog we’ve learned that the lottery can be perceived in many different ways. Winning the lottery can prove to be both beneficial and detrimental to the winners and the people surrounding them. It can not only affect people’s emotions, but their lifestyles as well. Who knew that winning the lottery could be such a demanding and difficult task.

We’ve learned that although many people put their money to good use, most others do not. They think that they have a never ending cash flow coming into their band account and they fail to take the time to stop and think about what they have and what they are going to do with it. As we saw in the interview blog entry, some people are smart enough to carefully plan what they are going to do with the money they won, but others fail to do so and overlook all the possiblilities, both positive and negative, of winning the lottery.

Through this project I have learned that I don’t think that I really ever want to win the lottery. It seems like it would be more of a burden placed on my shoulders rather than a blessing. Me being the already indecisive person I am, I have no idea what I would do with such a large amount of money placed in my possession. I know I love to help people, so I would definitely donate money to a good cause. I visited Honduras this past summer on a mission trip and it has truly changed my life and how I view things and I would do absolutely anything to be able to make a difference down there, but I know for sure that I would not have the ability to donate all of my winnings to that cause. I also know that I would feel the need to help out my close family and friends, whether they are struggling or just need a little bonus. But then there’s that slightly selfish side of me. Would I let that shine through a little bit and maybe buy the car of my dreams (within reason, of course) then do a little shopping for myself? Or would I resist the temptation? I guess I will never know.

I think that the decisions that you make when you win the lottery really reflect who you are as a person. It helps to define you, your beliefs, and your morals. What if you won? What would you do with the money? And how exactly would that describe you as a person?

Through this experience, we’ve discovered the good, the bad, and the ugly of winning the lottery. It’s not as glamourous as one would think. It takes a lot of planning that people fail to realize. If people put a little more effort into researching the topic and the threats that come along with winning the lottery, I bet many people would not have stooped as low as they are today.

We’ve learned that often times you ended up less happy after winning the lottery, which helps to support the famous claim that “money cannot buy you happiness”.

Thanks for reading my blog. I hope that you’ve learned a lot and if you are ever a lucky winner of the lottery, I hope you remember the time you spent reading this and don’t make the same mistakes as the thousands of other Americans who have really lost it all.

8
April
2011

I Wanna be a Billionaire0

I think everyone has heard of this song since its release in May 2010, but it was just the other day when I was driving that I heard this song and realized how much it really pertained to my blog. It’s particularly the verses that pertain more to my blog rather than the chorus.

Yeah I would have a show like Oprah
I would be the host of, everyday Christmas
Give Travie a wish list
I’d probably pull an Angelina and Brad Pitt
And adopt a bunch of babies that ain’t never had s**t
Give away a few Mercedes like here lady have this
And last but not least grant somebody their last wish
Its been a couple months since I’ve single so
You can call me Travie Claus minus the Ho Ho
Get it, hehe, I’d probably visit where Katrina hit
And d**n sure do a lot more than FEMA did
Yeah can’t forget about me stupid
Everywhere I go Imma have my own theme music

In this verse, McCoy peruses all of the possibilities that he could do with his money. Although he may not have won the lottery, but actually earned his money, the same concept arises between the two large amounts of money present. One difference between the two though, would be the willingness to spend the money. If the money had been obtained through hard work, I doubt that someone would completely waste it all so quickly, but it’s not impossible.

The possibilities talked about include both those that would benefit himself as well as others around him. Most of the deeds he would do with his money would often be used to indirectly benefit himself. He would directly be helping those less fortunate while making himself look better for doing such good deeds.

This song directly pertains to my blog and I thought that it would be kinda cool to relate a topic like this to pop culture today.

6
April
2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly1

So far we’ve heard about the good that people do with their money as well as the not so good. The downsides are now begininning to shine more elaborately through than the upsides. In Winning the Lottery, Curse or Blessing?, many new negative possibilities are opened up. There’s the tragic story of Juan Rodriguez who had won the New York lottery. Juan had just recently been thrown out by his wife, but after winning the lottery “she reconciled with him for two weeks, then filed for a divorce taking half of his winnings with her”. There’s even negatives about the lottery when you don’t win. Facts provided include the fact that “Americans spend more than $25.1 billion a year on lottery tickets”. Just think about where all of this wasted money could go to if it hadn’t been spent on unlucky lottery tickets. I bet many people would be much better off and could better provide for themselves as well as their families if they had not fallen into trap of the lottery.

On the otherhand though, there are positives to winning the lottery. You have the ability to change your life for the better, as long as you do so wisely. As provided in “Lottery Winners Not So Miserable After All”, data is provided to show that “over half of the respondents (55%) said they were happier now than before they won their money, and almost all of the rest said winning the lottery had not affected their happiness; only 2% said they were less happy.” But doesn’t that totally contradict everything we’ve heard? You don’t hear many stories about people ending up completely satisfied after winning the lottery, but often down in the dumps. Not only have we heard of losing the money, but relationships as well. But then this article throws us through a loop and says that “two thirds of the respondents (67%) said that “they had not experienced any negative effects on family life or friendships following their win.”" Completely contradictory to what we’ve heard, but maybe it’s just the sample of people they’ve chosen. The only possible way to receive completely accurate responses is to test every single person who has eveyone, which is impossible. So as of now, we will just have to suffice with what we have and base our judgments on the good and bad outcomes of winning the lottery.

29
March
2011

An Interview with The Smart Spender1

As we have all read, there are many options when it comes to what to do with your lottery winnings. Here, in an interview conducted by Fortune Magazine, we see how Brian Duke decides how he spends, invests, and saves his winnings.

(Fortune Magazine) — Brad Duke, 34, a manager for five Gold’s Gym franchises in Idaho, pocketed a lump sum of $85 million after winning a $220 million Powerball jackpot in 2005. He spent the first month of his new life assembling a team of financial advisors. His goal: to use his winnings to become a billionaire. Here’s what Duke has done with his money so far.

  • $45 million: Safe, low-risk investments such as municipal bonds
  • $35 million: Aggressive investments like oil and gas and real estate
  • $1.3 million: A family foundation
  • $63,000: A trip to Tahiti with 17 friends
  • $125,000: Mortgage retired on his 1,400-square-foot house
  • $18,000: Student-loan repayment
  • $65,000: New bicycles, including a $12,000 BMC road bike
  • $14,500: A used black VW Jetta
  • $12,000: Annual gift to each family member

Did you often buy lottery tickets or was this a one-time thing?

I played the lottery often when I won. I had developed a little numbering system. Since I’ve won, there’s been a lot of numbering systems for lotteries all over the Internet. Before that, there weren’t any. I really thought I was going to win. I even wrote it down in my journal in 2002.

How did you develop your system?

How to choose my lottery numbers started through a trial and error process. I just started playing number games with myself about how to capture the most diverse numbers. Then I looked at the most recent Powerball numbers over the last six months and took the set of 15 numbers that were most commonly coming up. My Powerball numbers were going to be those 15. So I starting messing around with it, and my number games got a little more complex and a little bigger. I was starting to win smaller amounts like $150 and $500.

So many lottery winners have sad endings. Did you worry about that?

I’ve always handled responsibility well. If you accept that check, you accept an amazing responsibility to yourself and whomever you decide to include in it. I was quiet about winning for a month before I decided to come out. During that time, I was getting as much research as I could on existing lottery winners and what their stories were. Most of them lose all the money within a short amount of time. I’m looking at statistics where people in ten years have nothing. In ten years, I wanted to be worth about ten times as much. I think a lot of people who play the lottery are people who live on hope.

What was your first major purchase?

A trip to Tahiti for me and 17 of my friends. At the same time, I paid off my mortgage and student loans. [What was your biggest purchase?] The family foundation was the biggest allotment of money. $1.3 million.

What else did you do with your money?

I wanted to make the most of the opportunity that was given to me, so I put together a team with the intent to reach and maintain a $1 billion status over a particular period of time. I wanted to do it in 10 years, which I knew was aggressive. My team talked me into looking at 15 years. But it looks like we’re on track for 12 years. When you do something like that, the more you become worth, the quicker your growth curve is. My total net worth right now is at an unofficial value of $128 to $130 million. We’ve done very well for the first year and a half.

What about a big new house or a fancy new car?

I guess I’m more worried about spending time on my investments and helping my consulting company along and doing fun things with my family and friends. I will have a new home and a great car at some point, but just not now. The great thing about the lottery was that I get to experience amazing things with people I care about. I started up a consulting company and am employing some people that helped me along the way with my employment. I took my family on a cruise.

You had to have treated yourself to something.

I bought bicycles. I’m probably own upward of 17 bikes. I also bought a 2002 Jetta. I gave my 2005 Jetta to my nephew. So it’s the exact same car except for his is white and mine is black.

You had a newer car that you gave to your nephew and you bought an older car?

That’s correct. I wanted a black VW Jetta with a black interior. Believe it or not, those are really hard to find. I went to the local dealership and had them track one down for me. They had to go to Texas to get it. It fit my bicycle rack really well.

What happened to your job at Gold’s Gym?

I still teach a spinning class there twice a week. I took some time off after the whole thing because everybody had investment opportunities that were the greatest thing since sliced bread, and there were 100 of them every day. So I had to get out of there for a while, but when I went back, the people I’d been teaching for the last 8 years were still the same people, and I was still the same instructor.

Have you given money to members of your family?

One of the first things I did was give everyone in my family the maximum amount without tax consequence. I have all of my nieces’ and nephews’ college funds set up, and they’re set. And there’s no debt for anyone anymore. Everybody is happy.

Are you happier since you¹ve won the money?

Absolutely. When it comes down to it, I get to do the things professionally that I’ve always wanted to do. I get to invent a piece of equipment that I’ve always been thinking about doing. I get to give back to some people that have given to me over years.

 

Brad Duke utilized his money in a very strategic and professional way. If only all lottery winners were as persistant and patient as Duke was, they may not have ended as low as they did in the end.

29
March
2011

An Ode to Dough1

So after thinking about how I would write my free style blog post, I thought a lovely poem would be quite fitting to both entertain and inform the reader about the lottery. Also, I would like to thank my dear friend, Gym Candy, for the inspiration for my title.

An Ode to Dough

From scratch offs to jackpots,

Megamillions to powerball,

Large amounts of money,

are at risk for all.

If you play your cards right,

And hope with all your might,

It might just be possible,

that you’ll get rich overnight.

But say that you win,

oh what will you do,

with all of that money

that’s been handed to you?

Would you keep it all

and put it in savings?

Or spend it all up

to satisfy your cravings?

Saving it all,

That sounds pretty smart,

but after some time,

will you have a change of heart?

To save it for college,

retirement or kids,

spending it all is

what one forbids.

But then there’s the others,

the spenders they’ll be,

they spend it all up,

on an extravagant spree.

To spend it on cars,

on vacations or shoes,

the money is theirs

for whatever they choose.

Such spending may lead

to a quick downward fall

and they may end up worse off

than they thought after all.

Then there’s the few

who give their money away

knowing it will be all be worth it

in the future someday.

Whether to children or soldiers

to researchers or poor

this donation will help

to have hope be restored.

If you had the money,

oh what would would you chose?

To donate, or save,

Or go on a cruise?

They say money brings happiness,

but is that really true?

I ‘ve often heard not,

it leads you to feel blue.

What if it all

went to such waste ,

would you find your decisions

were often in bad taste?

Many will never know

how they would spend the loot,

for the possibilities are often

hard to compute.

To win the lottery,

it seems so carefree,

but find some winners

and they won’t agree.

So do what you will,

The choice yours,

If you happen to win

I hope it endures.

23
March
2011

A Philanthropic Win4

All we’ve heard so far are stories of those who practically wasted all of their money, but what about those who put it to good use? On the opposite side of the spectrum from the selfish ones are the selfless ones. They are always putting others before themselves and are willing to do anything to help and support their cause. These so called philanthropists find places more in need of their winnings than on themselves. Even though this may end up in the losing all of that has been won, rock bottom wouldn’t have been hit  just as others who spent it all on themselves had fallen face first.

But what drives these people to donate such grandiose sums of money to such deserving organizations? In Lottery Winners Give It All Away a list is shown that is comprised of multiple reasons that motivate people to do such deeds.

#1 Their Faith –… If you believe that it is better to give than receive and want to follow the good book, then it is plausible that you will look for those less fortunate than you to provide them with a blessing.

#2 Champion a Cause –… And if you feel like the cause of clean drinking water, education, or even music is what the world needs, then you  may be compelled to not only act, but to give away a fortune to see the goal come closer to realization.

#3 Loss someone to an Illness - The loss of a love one can move anyone to do things that don’t seem normal to others… Therefore, if we hit the lottery I have no doubt that she would want to donate it toward (cancer).

#4 Capitalism & Greed –… The reason being because the people are not giving away the money freely. In fact, they are just losing it in this scenario. But I am sure you are aware of the study that says most lottery winners end up broke because they wind up spending all of the money they win.

All of these reasons lead for me to believe that there are unselfish, ungreedy people in the world that have a heart for others. It truely doesn’t matter where the motivation comes from, for it can stem from either of these or from thousands of other issues, but the thought of being selfless enough to donate all your winnings is an amazing characteristic for someone to have.

You don’t hear many stories of people donating all of their winnings, but they honestly deserve a lot of credit for what they have done and should reap the benefits of their good deeds in the future.

10
March
2011

Could you really lose it all?4

Surprisingly enough, many waste their money. Sometimes friends and family will egg you on to give them a hand in their time of need. Soon enough you can’t stop and say “no”. And just as soon, you will be all out of money. Oftentimes those who win the “BIG BUCKS” decide to “invest” their money in something they know absolutely nothing about. A lot of times people will immediately go out and buy an extraordinary home but don’t realize all that comes along with it. Along with big houses come big bills, big taxes, and big expenses that seem to appear out of nowhere.

There are many cases in which those who have won millions simply fall to rock bottom after only a short time after hitting the jackpot. For instance, take Evelyn Adams in 8 Lottery Winners Who Lost Their Millions tells her story of winning the lottery and losing it all, twice. She realized that “there are a lot of people out there like [her] who don’t know how to deal with money,” they think of it as a never ending flow of wealth and spend it all without any doubt or concern. Just like Evelyn, many other lottery winners have hit rock bottom and have hit it hard. Not only do most end up broke, many others wind up bankrupt.

But then I question, where did all of their money go in such a short amount of time? Many like Evelyn had friends who depended on their newly acquired wealth to help them out when they were in desperate need. It was almost as if she had ”never learned one simple word in the English language — ‘No.’”. No can be a hard answer to come across, especially when those close to you are depending upon you for help.

Who knew that so many suffered after winning the lottery? Just a few simple mistakes could lead you to rock bottom. So be careful with your winnings, you never know when it’s going to come back and bite you in the rear.


8
March
2011

Is it really all glitz and glam?0

Winning the lottery is always depicted as such a wonderful thing, but how often does it end with the same satifaction as it did when you first won it?

"Big Cheese Photos" Jupiter Images

Winning the lottery is always depicted as such a wonderful thing, but how often does it end with the same satisfaction as it first began?

4
March
2011

Winning the lottery: What exactly does that mean?1

You are always hearing how people expect to pull themselves out of their hardships if they won the lottery. They could pay off their debt, move out of their troubled neighborhood and start fresh in a new place. They would be able to desert their past life and move on to new experiences and a more “perfect” lifestyle.

I’ve always thought about what I would do with the money if I were to be one of the lucky few to score big in the lottery. Would I buy my family a nicer house? Would I plan a lavish trip around the world? Would I donate it all to charity and humble myself by doing so? Or would I be efficient and put it all into a college fund? There are far too many options.

I think that by winning the lottery you would truly find out who you are and what your morals are. Say that you donate all the money to a 3rd world country, you would find that you’re a person who cares about others and puts them before yourself. If you spend all your winnings on a lavish trip, you would find that you’re a person who only cares about themself. But what if it is necessary that you spend the money on yourself? What if you were in great debt and desperately needed to spend the money to get yourself back on your feet, does that make you selfish? So does winning the lottery truly define who you are?

Many say that if they won the lottery that they would have all of their problems be solved, but is that really true? After the amount taken out for the government, and splurging on a few luxury items (which everyone would be guilty of no matter the need for the extra cash), how much would you really have left? Would it be sufficient enough to pull you back onto your feet and lead you to success?

I hope to learn the really meaning of winning the lottery. I hope to learn if people really put the money into good use or if they would rather waste it away on unnecessary items.