Can a Lottery Windfall be too Big?

Originally published Jan. 19, 2016


Lottery mania is over, at least for now, since the winning Powerball numbers were drawn last week.

All of the buzz about the record-breaking jackpot got me to thinking: what would I do with all that money and how would I get my head around such a large sum?

I could only think of a few things I’d like to do with that much money, and I won’t get too specific on any personal plans, but as the jackpot grew and grew, one thing became clear to me: I don’t want that kind of responsibility!

I haven’t bought a lottery ticket in several years, and I think I may have only bought two in my entire life. Although the idea of winning so much money can be appealing, after more thought, I decided to stay out of the lines to buy tickets. That’s right—I spent $0 on lottery tickets during all of this hoopla, and I don’t regret it for a minute.

Now that the jackpot has come way down, I’m actually more tempted to buy a ticket than I was when it was over $1 billion. I don’t mind some extra money—that’s for sure. So, if I choose to play the lottery and be lucky enough to win, I’d be happy if I could pay off all debt and those of immediate family members, give a nice chunk to churches and charity, and save whatever might be left.

I don’t much like the idea of hiring an army of people to manage, preserve and protect millions (or billions) of dollars! And then there are the crazies out there who may try to ransom the rest away. I know it sounds like a Hollywood movie, but that’s how I see it playing out!

Several thousand dollars sound great to me, or maybe a couple of million, but no need for more than that–it would be more headache than it was worth, in my opinion.

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