5 Reasons You Don’t Want to Win The Lottery

Marina Shifrin

By , Staff Writer
Posted on Fri Dec 16, 2011, Last Updated on Fri Mar 30, 2012

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When I am not daydreaming about what it would be like to meet Michael Jackson, I am usually thinking about what it would be like to have a bajillion dollars. Not so sure people share my first dream, but I can almost guarantee that an insurmountable percentage of individuals fantasize about winning the lottery. With unemployment being high, the mortgage crisis and ever-increasing debt, winning the lottery would definitely solve a lot of people’s problems.

UPDATE, March 2012: With the Mega Millions Jackpot up to a record $640 million, here is yet another reason to rethink playing this lottery.

I hate to be a total buzzkill, but winning the lottery may not be exactly what it’s cracked up to be (unless stress, heartache and death is what you’re imagining — then it’s totally cracked up to be the right thing). Here are 5 reasons you may want to rethink your dreams of winning the lottery.

5. You Like Being Married

Debt can put a lot of strain on a family, but a few unfortunate lotto winners prove that riches can cause just as much strain. Juan Rodriguez thought his life had finally turned around when he won the New York State Lotto jackpot totaling $149 million. This win couldn’t have come at a better time considering Rodriguez had filed for bankruptcy the month before and, at the time, had $0.78 in his bank account.

Even his wife reconciled with him, now that he had a chance at paying the $44,000 in debt he owed to creditors after his $88.5 million bailout. The reconciliation didn’t last long though, a month later his wife filed for divorce and for rights to half the $88.5 million, which resulted in frozen access to his funds. Eventually the divorce went through and Rodriguez doled out half his prize, but hey, at least he settled his debts!

William Hurt’s life turned upside down after he won the $3.1 million jackpot in Michigan’s 1993 Lottery. It only took 2 years for Hurt to relapse into a cocaine addiction, literally blowing through his earnings. The relapse caused his wife to leave him in a bitter divorce and he lost custody of his children, leaving him with nothing.

4. You Don’t Want To Be Killed

Abraham Shakespeare, a 43 year-old truck driver’s assistant and middle school dropout, ended up winning $30 million Florida jackpot in 2006. He only enjoyed the money for three years before he disappeared in 2009. His body was found a year after his disappearance, in the backyard of Dorice Donegan “Dee-Dee” Moore’s boyfriend. Moore, a business partner, was later charged with the murder of Shakespeare. Before his death, Shakespeare disclosed to a childhood friend, “I’d been better off broke.”

Jeffrey Dampier Jr., won the $20 million in the Illinois Lotto in 1996 and chose spend his winnings by showering friends and family with gifts. One of his family members chose to repay him in the worst way possible: murder. Dampier’s sister-in-law, Victoria Jackson, along with her boyfriend kidnapped and killed Dampier in July of 2005. The two were accused and convicted of murder in 2006.

3. Bankruptcy is Unappealing to You

Wait, what? Winning the lottery is the exact opposite of bankruptcy but these next few individuals experienced just that when they won big. Evelyn Adams, a New Jersey native seemed to be the luckiest person on earth — she won the lotto TWICE, within four months. Her winnings came out to a total of $5.4 million combined. She had full plans to go back to school, and possibly even open up a music store. None of these plans came into fruition, and 16 years after winning Adams had to move into a trailer park having given away and spent all her winnings.

This isn’t a unique story in the lotto winner community, William “Bud” Post, won $16.2 million in 1988 and quickly watched his life disintegrate in front of him. On top of that, his girlfriend broke up with him and successfully sued him for 1/3 of the jackpot, his brother hired a contract killer to murder him — not the best results. Post ended up going bankrupt due to poor money management. Eighteen years after winning Post told the Washington Post, “I was much happier when I was broke.”

2. You Are Superstitious

Are you beginning to see a pattern in these stories? Winning the lottery sucks. Even though it seems like just a bunch of freak-coincidences occurring to people in the spotlight, there is a whole “Curse of the Lottery” theory out there. If you don’t believe in curses, tell that to Jack Whittaker. Whittaker is one of the most infamous individuals plagued by the curse. After his $315 million winnings, he was a victim of grand-theft, his granddaughter was found dead under a van due to drug overdose (just months after her boyfriend died from the same reason inside Whittaker’s home). These deaths proved to be too difficult for Whittaker’s wife, Jewell, and she ended up filing for divorce.

As if the story isn’t depressing enough Whittaker’s daughter (mother to the deceased granddaughter) died 5 years after her own daughter had passed for the same reason. Whittaker currently has no family or fortune, his account was been emptied by thieves according to Whittaker himself. CafeTerra reached out for comment on the situation to which Whittaker stated, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.”

1. Your Life Isn’t That Bad

Debt is horrible, there is no way of getting around it. Many people are in extremely dire situations and would give up their left leg to be able to pay off student loans, credit cards, medical bills and so on.

But take a moment to think about it, do you really want to win the type of money that will have friends and media constantly on your tail? I don’t want to use the overstated clichè ‘Money doesn’t buy happiness’ but…If you really think that money will solve all your problems, become proactive about your debt and look for ways to get back on track. A good way to start is to look into Personal Financial Management tools. Some may cost money to use, others come in free apps. Even if you don’t have a smartphone to download an app, you can always take to the web for free advice and guides.


Post a Comment

  • Penguincorvettekook

    Your joking, right?? If your stupid enough to change your daily routine, then you will get what comes your way. OF COURSE you don’t run out and quit your job. You don’t go buy a brand new car, a house or any big items right away. You pay-off all your current bills. You then sit down with a money manager and plan out how to best allocate the money. You set-up the rest of your life.

    • Jonnybiggons

      “You’re” not “Your”.

      • Anonymous

        what are you, the grammar police today?

        • ian

          YES, I AM.

          • Anonymous

            well if it makes you feel better about your self…………………………….

        • Jsoseman

          This is whats wrong with the country today. People too lazy or stupid to do it right!

          • Anonymous

            this isn’t real life, it’s a discussion board, people make mistakes, if you’re going to be so anal about everyone’s posts, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
            It’s one thing for a well written post to have an error in it and a post to be entirely full of errors.
            BTW, it’s “what’s” not “whats”.
            What’s is a contraction of what is, like it’s.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHDQADNTURYFODML3OD5MQWPBU VLizzle

        FU or should I spell that out for you

      • http://twitter.com/thefoxbox FrederickSzczepanski

        I used to be the same way until I read a few studies indicating that there’s absolutely no correlation between someone’s grammar/spelling and their intelligence. I just look past it.

    • Erynn

      I think that rather depends on one’s job, doesn’t it? Working as a supermarket shelf stacker, you’d be an idiot to keep doing it if you won the lottory. You’d also be an idiot to extend your monthly spending to more than a 2-3 thousand dollars without a better job or some very sound investments.

  • Animeprobefan

    This is all bs honestly its just because a few bad things that happened makes everyone that way and btw if i was a millionaire you best to believe id have a glock or something strapped to me all the time just incase.

  • Ltlmis

    I can’t believe how poorly written this article is, and how strongly it relies on anecdotal evidence. Very lazy.

    • http://www.mybanktracker.com Marina

      Hey Ltlmis,

      Sorry you didn’t enjoy the article, I thought it would be a fun read. Feel free to send some suggestions on topics you would like covered to marina@mybanktracker.com.


      • 3rd Grader Dissertations

        This is your idea of a “fun read”? Death of family members, conspired murder by family members, kidnapping, drug addiction relapse, bankruptcy and divorce? Your exploitive portrayal of peoples’ ironic misfortunes would be less reprehensible if your journalistic skills surpassed that of a 1st grader’s writing abilities. You’d be well-advised to switch your major before student loans beckon and you are left clutching scratch-off lottery tickets to pay for the mistake of following the advice of that person who told you to pursue journalism as a career.

      • Teddee13

        I can’t really bash you, Marina. Every single financial blog or news outlet has at least one report on the dreaded “curse of the lottery”. I get it, it’s a headline that grabs your attention, pulls readers in.

        But we all know that it’s hogwash. There is no curse. There are a bunch of people who made stupid decisions.

        If there’s one good thing that came out of their misfortune is that it’s allowed other people to know what NOT to do if they ever strike it big. I almost wish the big jackpots came with mandatory financial planning/advice, because some of these winners had very little education or experience beforehand and that is magnified when they get a windfall.

        99% percent of the people who experienced misfortune after winning the lottery did so for no other reason than the made poor and idiotic decisions. That’s like saying there’s a curse on star athletes when they get a windfall contract and file bankruptcy within a few years. You wouldn’t tell young people not to aim for the big leagues because there’s a curse on professional athletes. No, you wouldn’t. Because we all know it was the athlete’s fault. Why can’t an article be as honest when it comes to the lottery.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L7U2ZXVJABD3BAIPVMVG3RAWTE dc70camino

    i would still love to win the lottery…. it would be the chance i am willing to take

    • Mack

      Me too!

  • Crapp1018

    Back around 1998 I had 5 numbers on the power ball. Went back to the liquor store I bought it and the guy told me I only won $65.00 because there were so many winners. I believed it and now unsure. Later heard he’d won, bought a house and was later murdered and his body parts spread throughout the woods. It makes me sick to think he stole the ticket and did that. I wouldn’t pay that much for vengeance, I’d just want my money. Of course it wouldn’t have been that amount and long lost or even worse scenario/reality. Some things happen for a reason.

    • http://www.mybanktracker.com Marina

      That’s crazy! Looks like you totally avoided the curse of the lottery.

    • Stminton

      I call BS on this – any winning ticket over 5K must be verified at the lottery office……………….

      • Guest

        Well if you aren’t sure the logical step would be to go back to where you bought it. Some people don’t think to read the fine print on the back if they get excited.

  • lulu

    this article is so bad…wow…did you write this after watching a marathon of “the lottery changed my life”?

  • F4sphantomii

    $$$ won’t fix stupid!

  • Wills_james

    Do you have any stories about the hundreds of other winners who are not losers?

    • Anonymous

      exactly, they always tell about the losers, people who didn’t know how to handle money in the first place, that’s why they were broke before they won the lottery and are bankrupt now.
      You never tell anyone you won the big one, you get a lawyer and incorporate yourself, put the money in the corporation and other assets that can’t be touched if someone sues you.
      You don’t go around flashing $100 bills and picking up bar tabs you never did before, and you don’t go build yourself a mansion that you don’t need, just because you can.
      People who don’t know how to handle money will always be broke no matter how much they have.
      I personally know someone who did win and due to his own stupidity, he’s now living in a camper in a trailer park.
      Shame too, he’s a nice guy, just irresponsible and soft hearted.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gia.gibbons Gia Wealthy Gibbons

      I know thats right….

  • Smilee401

    Can’t your employer afford an editor?  This whole article was full of misspelled words and grammatical errors!  You need to go back and take a course in remedial English.

    • Ted Nugent

      Smilee401, yeah right!  If your life is so boring that you have to comment on other people’s grammar, I hope you win the Lottery!  Maybe you would spend the money to correct all the mispelings and ,gramatically errors on the, internet? HA. Get a Life

  • Sakara

    ok by me if millions of easy money gives me some “terrrible’ drama.

  • Anonymous

    I liked the article.  The headline is perhaps a little misleading, but I got it just the same.  The anecdotes are interesting to read.

  • Anonymous

    Truly…the love of money IS the root of all evil!  With few exceptions, playing the LOTTO is a gamble of the desperate — $$ will not change a person’s heart developed over a life time.  So long as we buy into the belief that “things” make one happy, we will always be miserable!

  • Derrick wilson

    I’d still rather have more than enough than too little problems.

  • Allie

    It’s been said that whoever you were before you won the lottery is who’ll you’ll be after you win. In other words, if you’re a loser now you’ll be a much bigger loser after the lottery. If you’re a good, financially responsible person now you’ll be fine after the lottery. Makes sense to me.

    • Mack

      I volunteer to be the one to prove your point. Just gimme a winning ticket. :)

      • Erynn

        Me next!

  • asdf

    Noob article

  • Kelleyo

    This only proves the adage that if you took all the money from the rich people and gave it to the poor people,  the rich would be rich again and the poor would be poor again within 5 years.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6QK2P26XU3VDHKP66Z324V6T2Q ~DaD

    I accept your challenge, give me the lotto winnings and we’ll see if you’re reporting on me too in a few years…

  • Bobgriffithiii

    This author is a sour grape.The stories of lottery winners who keep their winnings are actually far greater than the small percentage who lose it all. And sure any idot who blows their winnings and has nothing to show for it, is mot certianl bound to say “I wished I tore up that winning ticket”!  TO the author,  Marina Shifrin I say get a life.

  • me

    hope i have a chance to find out

  • http://twitter.com/thefoxbox FrederickSzczepanski

    His $315 in winnings? Wow, I wish I had that kind of cash. 

  • Lea_9011

    Whittaker was a millionaire before he won the lottery.  He constantly cheated on his wife.  He was robbed because he took over $500,000 (in cash) to a strip club.  He was a scum bag before and after he won the lottery.

  • Nevermoreagain

    I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor.

    Rich is better

  • Stminton

    This writer is as stupid as the people she wrote about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JenileeDunson Jenilee Dunson

    The people in these stories already had problems BEFORE winning the lotto. The first guy and his wife were already seperated then reconciled. Money won’t fix a marriage. Other’s had horrible drug addictions (cocaine, the chick under the van, etc.) Murder is horrible but you could get murdered walking out to your car in a parking lot or murdered over 5 bucks. It’s not that common. Yeah being rich makes you a higher target, so you have to be careful who you tell. Also if you spend your money stupidly, of course you will be broke – duh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gia.gibbons Gia Wealthy Gibbons

    You have to be out your mind to even write crap like this of course I would love to win the lottery and theres ways to stay unknown from the world once you’ve won so in my opinion money does and can change your life and buy happiness and everything ealse.

  • education24

    If you posted this why not talk also about the entertainer, actor, and sport athletes. It’s not just the lottery winners it is people who come into a lot of money and just didn’t have the proper guided. So before you call it a curse maybe it’s a blessing that was misuse due to poor judgment. A lot Americans do not have the education that’s need to maintain wealth of that magnitude. That why it’s only a small fraction of people that hold large portion of wealth. Now days there are more millionaires because people are realizing the value that a dollar holds. So please do more research before you post blog’s about other tragic misfortune due to lack of money management.

  • Teddee13

    I agree Erynn. Assuming you won millions after taxes so that a quick math check would indicate that you no longer need to work, abso-freaking-lutely I would quit my job. Unless the job is something no one else can do and you want to wait for them to find a replacement. Otherwise, stay home. If you don’t need the money then I think it’s selfish to stay. Someone else who actually needs to work could get it with you gone.

  • Chavez Jones

    All of this is BS to me. I don’t believe none of this is going t happen to me when I win the lottery. You can take that to the bank. There is no such thing as the lottery curse. I can assure you I won’t fall victim of this so-called curse

  • Steve

    You don’t need horror stories to sell services or the concept of financial planning. Has every lotto winner gone broke, died a horrible death, or became terminally ill? Of course not. I personally know a Calif 25 million jackpot winner and two decades later he’s alive, happy, and well. Bad things happen to poor people, rich people, and middle class people, with or without winning the lottery, being a beneficiary in an inheritance, finding a lost money, or becoming famous. It’s called life.

  • Blenda Park

    Hi everybody,I won $70,000 two weeks ago in Nsw 6 pool from 38 lottery play.I was introduced to a spell caster a month ago by a colleague who he helped with marriage and financial issues.All what he said and what he promised to do really happened.I guess never believed in magic or spells because i thought they were mostly scam acts or tricksters until i met Dr. OLOKUM,everything changed,it exists but only in the right hands and with it everything is possible.I don’t know how to pay him for this but i really hope i can do something important and special for him.. his email is lavenderlovespell@yahoo.com@gmail. com contact him now and he will help you win lottery spiritually.You can call him,here is his phone number +2347053977842,is better to call hi to make it faster.Good luck to you all out there,who want to win lottery.My greater thanks to Dr OLOKUM,the spell caster.his email adress Lavenderlovespell@yahoo.com.

  • maria ann

    i do not know how to thank this man called dr.soula fro the great help he has render to me in making me win the powerball lottery. I told him that i do not want to win big that i just need an amount that will be okay for my family to start and new life and he did his spiritual magic and the my name came out as a winner of $150,000. I am not doubting any thing that has to involve voodoo in my life cause i heard that he has help so many people and now i have seen for myself so you can contact this man today for help drsoula_b@live.com

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