Now that the Mega Millions lottery jackpot has topped $1.2 billion over Friday night’s drawing, some experts say the mental and emotional costs of winning such a huge cash bonanza must be taken into account when measuring money and its effect on happiness.
Dealing with people coming out of the woodwork to share your prize — or, rather, try to rob you of it — is a major cash windfall stressor.
“I have represented in six lawsuits [the] Lottery ‘losers’ who lost their winnings to various investment scams,” Andrew Stoltman, a Chicago attorney and legal analyst for Fox News, told Fox News Digital.
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He continued, “Who will win the lottery drawing tonight [meaning Friday night, July 29] Financial planners are instantly inundated with offers to invest from scammers, friends and family.”
The curse of the “lottery loser” is very real, Stoltman said.
“Unfortunately, these instant millionaires often lack money management experience and basic investment skills, making them perfect targets for scammers,” he said.
He offers the following tips for tonight’s potential winner to stay sane and happy after a billion-dollar win.
“Winner is the biggest target of banks, brokerage firms and scammers around the world,” he explained.
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“Ultimately, no one should be trusted. Everyone with any access to funds should be watched by multiple eyes.”
“Saying no to relatives is a difficult task for winners, but it’s also very important.”
“Everyone will be happy for you and not try to target you,” he speculated.
But he said that there is no truth in this.
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“Every uncle wants to start a business and asks for money directly — family members are often the biggest drain on the winner.”
“Saying no to relatives is a difficult task for winners, but it’s also very important,” he said.
“Every uncle wants to start a business and asks for money directly – the winner is more likely to be a family member.”
To improve a person’s sense of happiness and peace after a huge win, Stoltman advises any lottery winner to get off all social media. Instantly.
The winner should “get off Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat for a long time,” he said, noting that social media accounts make cash-flush people “huge targets” for scammers.
“Scammers can tailor their pitch to you through your social media past,” he said.
“For example, if you have a parent who died of pancreatic cancer, a scammer might target you with an alleged pitch [to] Raise money for pancreatic research.”
While a big win is an “exhilarating experience,” the high may not last long, Hephzibah Kaplan, a psychotherapist at the London Art Therapy Center and author of the book “Almost Happy,” told Fox News Digital in an email.
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“Certainly, financial security can increase happiness — and a big win can help provide that,” Kaplan says.
“However, money does not satisfy many needs.”
Kaplan notes that while “acquiring new things” may “provide some temporary pleasure,” this pleasure may be eroded by “the most important issues of intimacy and family relationships, if any.”
“Playing the lottery can be a bigger thrill than winning or losing – it’s the thrill of uncertainty, the risk involved, that’s exciting and exhilarating.”
He said, “We often see this with people for whom nothing is enough. They are like a bottomless pit, maximizing all resources, depleting everyone else – happiness does not increase.”
A big lottery win can also generate More Relationship problems come when “begging letters come in,” he says, “or expectations to share [the wealth] Tests one’s generosity, as well as boundaries.”
Some people can’t navigate these tests, so a big win “turns into a stress reliever rather than a stress reliever,” says Kaplan.
He also said, “It may be playing “The lottery is a bigger sensation than winning or losing,” saying, “The thrill of uncertainty, the risk involved, makes it edgy and pulsating.”
He added, “Gambling is one of the most serious and difficult to treat addictions.”
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A sales professional from the Boston area has a theory about the lottery and the joy that comes from a big win.
“It’s wonderful to be able to help family and friends in a significant way,” he says, “but it’s like being a movie star. You can’t go anywhere or do anything without the constant interest of others.”
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“You sometimes hear movie stars say they’re missing out on the freedom that comes with being anonymous,” he continued. “Probably the same goes for winning millions — or billions.”
His son, in his early 20s, however, had a completely different opinion.
“I’ll take the cash!” He he said.