“But ‘happily ever after’ fails
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales”
— Bruce Hornsby and Don Henley
“Someday I hope you have a chance, to live like you are dying”
— Tim McGraw
A Psychology Today article titled “What Will You Do if You Win the $550 Million Powerball Lottery?” caught my attention. Helping lottery winners with their money is my long-time gig.
The author, Galen Guengerich, Ph.D., is a minister who admits that he has “never been much of a lottery person.” He makes a point that I hammer on in two bestsellers, “Life Lessons from the Lottery” and “Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners Losers and What to Do When You Win the Lottery.”
Money alone does not buy happiness. Although income is the highest predictor of increased life expectancy (higher income people can eat healthier, have time for exercise and have better access to health care), I have not seen any evidence that lottery winners live longer.
I’ve seen several cases like Abraham Shakespeare, who was murdered in Florida, and Amanda Clayton, a 25-year-old lottery winner from Michigan who died of a drug overdose, of lottery winners dying far too young.
Guengerich makes one conclusion similar to my own observations: Happiness comes from giving back to society and making a difference for other people.
However, I disagree with another of his points. He says that lottery winners should spend like there is no tomorrow.
Too many lottery winners already do that
For a decade, I have used a statistic I found that shows 90 percent of lottery winners run through their money in five years or less.
Jeremy Babener, a top notch tax attorney in Portland, Ore., has done extensive research on the subject of income dissipation and has convinced me that the percentage is more like 70 percent.
Either way, it’s still a lot of people. A lot of lottery winners may not live like they are dying tomorrow, but they like spend like they are.
Guengerich quotes the famous psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who said, “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and we have no way of knowing when our time is up — that we begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”
Although I’m a big fan of Kubler-Ross and understand, at some level, what Guengerich is trying to say, lottery winners are not a subset who should be encouraged to spend money quickly.
Every financial concept that I encourage, such as taking lottery winnings in annual payments instead of a lump sum, using lifetime annuities and investing in a way to “get rich slowly,” asks people to spend like they are going to live to a ripe old age.
I want lottery winners to have the idealism of Kubler-Ross in all their actions, but not to the point where they aren’t able to meet their own financial needs.
The last time we heard from lottery millionaire David Edwards, he was living in a storage shed, just a few years after hitting the jackpot. I am not sure if Edwards spent any of his money to help others, but wish he had spent more on helping himself.
Lottery winners may find the balance in an extremely hot new book called, “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending.” I plan to devote more ink on the authors, Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, at a later date, but the two rising stars in the field of behavioral finance do a terrific job of answering the question, “Am I getting the biggest happiness bang for the buck?”
Lottery winners are not the only people who live by the Will Rogers adage of “spending money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know.”
Winning the lottery has not always been the ticket to paradise. But if people use the money wisely, for a purpose, and with financial security being their number one priority, it might allow them to get closer to that elusive dream of happiness.
On the other hand, you don’t need to win the lottery to be happy. As Dunn and Norton show us, you just need to spend your money wisely, no matter how much you have or how you got it.
“But ‘happily ever after’ fails
- Lifestyles & Community
Community invited to celebrate Mary Tate Weitkamp’s 80th Wednesday
You are invited come to Union City and celebrate Mary Tate Weitkamp’s 80th birthday on Wednesday night, Dec. 18. The party will be 6 p.m. at the Union City Ruritan. They request no gifts. Just bring a picture, card or a smile. Cake and punch will be served.
Christmas is less than two weeks away
Hello from Baldwin.
How is everyone’s week going? I hope everyone is having a great one. I also hope you are staying warm and safe.
Snow and cancellations allow us to slow down
Oh! What a great morning this Tuesday, Dec. 10, with a light snow falling and the sun is trying to shine. Isn’t life just wonderful!
Richmond’s Christmas parade is Friday night
Do you have most of your Christmas shopping done? If not, take a deep breath of air, make a hot cup of tea to clear your mind and schedule an upcoming day to finish your task.
Better safe than sorry with bad weather is forecast
How did you like the “snow day” on Tuesday?
Better safe than sorry, right?
According to the weather forecasters, more of the white stuff may be falling this weekend.
Ice forecast brings back memories of big storms
I am glad that this weather has been a hit or miss for us.
Al, Alice & Ruth holiday concert Saturday
The Al, Alice & Ruth Holiday Musical Special is scheduled 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Berea Arena Theater. The show will feature special guest Richard Bellando. Featuring the sounds of banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass, the show will include both traditional tunes such as “Jingle Bells” and “What Child is This” and new Al, Alice & Ruth originals, “Caroling in the Snow” and “Starlit Lullaby.” Admission is $5.
Cold-weather horse nutrition
Winter may not arrive officially until Dec. 21, but wintry weather is already here.
Consider these ideas for feeding your horses this winter.
The first thing every horse owner should do is assess your horses’ body condition scores, or the amount of fat they are carrying.
This is simple numeric system, ranging from 1 to 9 that will help you adjust your horses’ diets so they are carrying the perfect amount of body weight.
Choose the right Christmas tree
When choosing a Christmas tree, freshness is the key. To ensure that your tree has optimum freshness, it is best to cut it yourself.
Now, that is not to say that you need to cut one out of your or your neighbor’s yard, but there are several tree farms in central Kentucky.
If you decide not to cut your own tree, there are several tree lots to choose from in the area. Many of the trees found on tree lots will probably not have been cut locally, but instead shipped in from other states such as North Carolina or even Colorado. Ask the vendor where the trees are from.
Winter chill means it’s soup time in Kentucky
I love the winter months because I can try some new and different soups. I use the crock pot for most of all my soups. Here are some recipes you might like to try.
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- Community invited to celebrate Mary Tate Weitkamp’s 80th Wednesday