Surprised? Here are 5 myths about winning the lottery that you didn't know.
Do you ever wish you could lose all your friends, become distrustful of everyone you know, or develop some kind of addiction? Congrats — you’re a perfect fit to win the lottery.
A new survey by online lottery pool LottoLishus says 58 percent of you don’t care about all of that: You’d still want to win the lottery even more than you want to find the love of your life (which only 38 percent would rather do). And nearly 4 percent of you would give up your spouse for a lottery winning of less than $10,000.
The survey also asked participants what they would do first if they won the $100 million jackpot:
- 61 percent would invest half of it;
- 24 percent would quit their job;
- 12 percent would donate money to the homeless; and
- 2 percent would roll around naked in $100 bills (come on, don’t act like you wouldn’t)
With so many people eager to win the lottery, Debt.com decided to take a look at some of the myths people have when it comes to actually winning.
Myth No. 1: Winning the lottery will make me happy
Many who play the lottery assume that winning will bring wealth, a bigger house, a better car, and freedom from having to worry about money ever again.
Reality: There have been scores of lottery winners who, after winning big time, regret that they ever purchased the ticket in the first place. Jack Whittaker has said that winning the lottery is cursed.
“I wish I’d torn that ticket up,” he told ABC News in 2007. Whittaker won the Powerball lottery jackpot — $315 million in 2002 — but frittered it away on alcohol, cars, and taking care of his granddaughter, who died of a drug overdose as a result. He also described being “everybody’s Santa Claus,” due to the amount of publicity he received after winning.
“Any place I would go they would come up,” he said. “I mean, we went to a ballgame, a basketball game…and we must have had 150 people come up to us…and it would be going right back to asking for money.”
Imagine how much fun it would be to have “family members” come out of the woodwork and strangers coming to ask for money anywhere you go.
Myth No. 2: Winning the lottery will make me rich for life
More like “rich for one year.” You probably don’t want to quit your day job just yet.
Reality: We recently investigated how long someone could stop working if they won a million dollars. The short answer: Not very long. Even if you live a totally average lifestyle, you’ll spend more than a million in less than 18 years.
And the number that makes the headlines is nothing like the amount you’ll actually get. CBS MoneyWatch shows the math for a New Jersey Powerball winner: His $338 million winning ticket only netted him about $152 million. You get less money when you take a lump sum rather than annual payments, and then there’s federal and state taxes.
And if you win the lottery, there’s a good chance it’ll last you even less time, since you’ll be tempted to blow a bunch of it on a nicer house or car. Check out stories like 10 Lottery Winners Who Went Broke.
Myth No. 3: I am more likely to win the lottery because I purchase tickets more often
Or you use a special sequence, or you use your great-grandma’s birth date, or any other rationalization you may come up with.
Reality: You have the same odds on the 100th ticket as you did on the first. Nothing you do makes you any more likely than anyone else to win the lottery, though there are so-called “experts” who will tell you differently. Richard Lustig, a man who says he’s won “lottery grand prizes” seven times and that luck has “nothing to do with it,” sells a book with advice on how to pick your lottery numbers. Money Talks News took his logic down.
Here’s our advice: Don’t listen to anyone who claims they can improve your chances of winning, especially if they’re trying to sell you a book on how to do it.
Myth No. 4: Lottery tickets are so cheap, they basically don’t cost me anything to play
Lottery tickets are a low-cost way to gamble, and some see them as a low-risk investment.
Reality: They’re a pretty high-risk investment — your odds of even breaking even are abysmal. Lottery tickets have often been criticized as an unfair tax on the poor.
On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5 percent of their income on lotteries, according to Wired. The magazine also quoted a 2006 survey that found 30 percent of people without a high school degree defended playing the lottery as a wealth-building strategy.
There are many ways to build wealth slowly: investing in the stock market, having a bit of your paycheck deducted into a 401k, and saving the old-fashioned way, for instance. Winning the lottery isn’t one of them.
Myth No. 5: Someone’s got to win, it may as well be me!
This is perhaps the most powerful myth lottery players tell themselves to rationalize buying a ticket.
Reality: A lot of times nobody wins — that’s how the jackpot goes up. Your chances of winning the Powerball jackpot are currently about one in 175 million. You are more likely to become president of the U.S. (1 in 10 million), die a slow and painful death by vending machine (1 in 112 million) or get struck by lightening (1 in 1 million) than you are of winning Mega Millions, which has similar odds.
If all of this still fails to convince you, just remember: Winning the lottery is no guarantee to happiness.