A lotto winner’s death in Michigan could have been easily avoided had the 25-year-old woman decided to remain anonymous and been more careful with her money, one financial expert said.
Amanda Clayton, the lotto winner found dead of a suspected drug overdose this weekend, had previously made headlines after she was charged with continuing to collect welfare benefits after her $1 million lotto win. But that was just a small part of the lotto winner death story, says Don McNay, the bestselling author of What to Do When You Win the Lottery and Wealth Without Wall Street.
McNay devoted much of his life to studying why people run through large sums of money and comes up with a gameplan to keep people on track when they come into a sudden fortune.
“I keep thinking that if Amanda had read one of them, she might be alive, but probably not. She lived a troubled life. Getting the lottery money added rocket fuel to her problems,” McNay wrote for The Huffington Post.
Her biggest problem, McNay wrote, was letting the world know that she had won. Michigan offers lottery winners the option of remaining anonymous, a step McNay says could have avoided the lotto winner’s death.
“Telling the world that you have money that you never expected to have is asking for trouble. Like Abraham Shakespeare, another lottery winner who wound up dead in Florida, people thinking that your money should be ‘our’ money seem to come out of the woodwork.”
“From various news accounts, it seemed like Amanda had a ton of newfound ‘friends.’ All wanting to take advantage of her.”
Neighbor Sheryl Schonfeld confirmed that Amanda Clayton seemed troubled after her lotto win. Schonfield told the Detroit News that in the 17 years she lived across the street from where Clayton grew up, she saw no problems with the girl.
“We moved in here around the same time, so I’ve know her since she was a little girl,” said Schonfeld. “She was a nice, pleasant girl who never got in trouble, until she won the lottery,” she said.
But things changed once the 25-year-old Clayton won the lottery. Schonfeld said she noticed new purchases including a new car for herself and her father. Clayton also bought a new home but still couldn’t escape her problems.
“Then she had to buy another house, I don’t know where, because her boyfriend found out where she lived and was bothering her, so she had to move.”
As McNay wrote, the lotto winner death points to a sad underlying fact for lottery winners: Close to 90 percent will spend their entire winnings within five years. For Amanda Clayton, she not only lost her fortune but her life as well.