During the course of my research for Powerball horror stories with which to warn any potential winners (self included), I happened across a very interesting Reddit thread about the grim reality for lottery winners. It started with a comment by Reddit user BlakeClass, who after “congratulating” the newly minted millionaire, promptly rained all over his or her parade.
“[You’ve] just won millions of dollars in the lottery! That’s great. Now you’re f***ed.
In this lengthy comment, BlakeClass goes on to lay out the rather grim statistics for anyone who finds themselves the winner of a major lottery, like the Powerball jackpot. He began by stating that the winners of particularly large lottery jackpots are much more likely than the average to go bankrupt, overdose on drugs, get kidnapped, or be murdered. The especially nasty part about that last one is that, according to this Reddit user, the person most likely to kill you is a former loved one. Ouch.
If that’s not bad enough, it seems like everyone will be out to get you once they learn you’re worth millions. You’re at increased risk of being targeted for lawsuits or becoming the defendant in a criminal case. Apparently, you’re more likely to be busted for a DUI as well.
To help drive this point home, BlakeClass raises the specter of various hapless (and deceased) lottery winners who met a brutal end after what was supposed to be a wonderful turn of events.
Billie Bob Harrell, Jr.: $31 million. Texas, 1997. As of 1999: Committed suicide in the wake of incessant requests for money from friends and family. “Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
Evelyn Adams: $5.4 million (won TWICE 1985, 1986). As of 2001: Poor and living in a trailer; gave away and gambled most of her fortune.
Suzanne Mullins: $4.2 million. Virginia. 1993. As of 2004: No assets left.
Shefik Tallmadge: $6.7 million. Arizona. 1988. As of 2005: Declared bankruptcy.
Thomas Strong: $3 million. Texas. 1993. As of 2006: Died in a shoot-out with police.
Victoria Zell: $11 million. 2001. Minnesota. As of 2006: Broke. Serving seven-year sentence for vehicular manslaughter.
The list goes on, but as you can see, there are quite a few lottery winners who found themselves pretty bad off — if not worse off — than when they first won the lottery.
Doom and gloom aside, isn’t there any way to avoid ending up miserable, broke, or dead? Well, actually yes.
The first things to do if you win the lottery. READ MORE: https://t.co/ZC8mR7qbZV <a< span=””> href=”https://t.co/hac8ayEDxR”>pic.twitter.com/hac8ayEDxR
— 13News Now (@13NewsNow) January 9, 2016
If you have serious ambitions for winning the Powerball jackpot, you want to read through this Reddit thread. Even though it’s nearly a year old, there’s some pretty solid advice. If you genuinely don’t have that kind of time, I’ll sum up the most important pieces of information you have to know before bothering to collect that Powerball jackpot.
First, and foremost, do not rush to claim your prize. Give yourself plenty of time to digest the fact that you are a part of the one percent. Next hire a lawyer, preferably “a partner from a larger, NATIONAL firm.” You’re advised to never hand out cash under ANY circumstances. Once you become a glorified ATM, there’s no turning that association off. Instead, create a trust that funds your family and friends through a third-party, and never for anything frivolous or stupid.
To keep yourself from blowing too much of your money, you’re encouraged to invest in global and municipal bonds long-term. Think five to 10 years. Although a “a boring S&P 500 index fund” was suggested, MarketWatch actually referred to the S&P 500 fund as a poor choice for the long-term.
It’s also possible to invest in precious metal like gold or silver, and some commenters suggested buying real estate/acres of property. Whatever you do, the goal is to ensure that no matter what curve balls are thrown your way, you have enough accumulating interest to assure that you’re not in danger of losing everything.
One final bit of advice? Definitely go for the lump sum.
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 10, 2016
Winning the Powerball doesn’t have to be all bad. It can be all good! If you’re willing to plan ahead, keep quiet, and make sensible financial decisions, there are so many tragic pitfalls that can be avoided.
Remember: This is a decision that would not only change your life but if you go about things poorly, it could indirectly kill you.
Do you have any additional useful advice for any would be Powerball lottery winner? Be sure to share in the comment section below.