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How lottery winners spend their money

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: How lottery winners spend their money
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Lottery winners: What separates the ones who live happily ever after from the ones who, five years later, wind up drunk, broke, in jail or hounded by the IRS?

Stephen Danish knows. In fact, the Virginia Commonwealth University professor of psychology is such an expert on the subject that the Virginia Lottery has hired him to counsel winners. Asked how many winners he has helped, he puts the number is in the double digits.

He once told the Roanoke Times that he can tell how well (or badly) somebody will handle a lottery windfall when he hears them talk about their future: If they talk only about spending, he says, he knows they're in trouble; if, though, they talk about what they want to accomplish with the money, he knows they're going to be okay.

Winners who go on to lead successful lives, he says, are those who had well-defined goals, plans and ambitions long before they ever bought a ticket. They view money not as a plaything to be frittered away, but as a tool with which to gain some practical end. The more specific their ambition, the better.

Jay Vargas, according to the Tampa Tribune, was just 19 when he won a Powerball jackpot of over $35 million in 2008. At first, Vargas told the paper, he partied hardy. What saved him from a life of dissipation? Ambition. He knew what he liked: hot women and professional wrestling. Eventually he found a way to invest himself and his money in these two.

He founded Wrestlicious, a Tampa TV production company whose programming features gorgeous, sweaty women in small costumes grappling with one another. It went into syndication in 2010.

Asked by a Wrestlicious interviewer on the eve of his show's debut if he felt his money had been well spent, Vargas said: "I think it has. Time will tell of course. It certainly has been an awesome learning experience. Best case, we have a huge hit. Worst case, I have a tax write-off." The show did a premiere season but has since gone into hiatus.

Likewise, William Kiefer of Katy, Texas, knew what he liked: nuns.

In 2010, Kiefer, according to the Houston Chronicle, won what was then the largest prize in Texas Lottery history—$144 million. "The greatest gift my parents gave me," he announced in a statement, "was to be raised a Christian. I plan to give 60 percent of all [my] after-tax winnings to charity."

"We are proud to count Mr. Kiefer among our players," said Lottery Executive Director Gary Grief in response. "Many winners plan to give to charity, but I don't think we've ever seen generosity quite like this."

Among the causes Kiefer has supported is the care of retired Catholic nuns. Sister Deenan Hubbard of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, speaking to the Houston Chronicle, described Kiefer as a really good man with a big heart. Kiefer, who has refused to grant interviews to any news organizations except the Texas Catholic Herald, said the other objects of his charity would include abused children and Haitian relief.

Professor Danish notes that no matter what kind of person you are—goal-focused or a sybaritic layabout-- winning the lottery can be tough: "You're bombarded by people asking, threatening, trying to do whatever they can to get money from you. To be able to say 'no' is difficult but important, because otherwise you'll find you have no money left."

It's not bad to give it all away, he clarifies. "That's fine. But that has to be your plan. You have to know how much you have, how much you want to give away, and how much you need to keep."

The holder of the winning ticket is not the only one fate favors when someone wins the lottery: The merchant who sold the ticket also cashes in.

In 2011, a supermarket customer on Long Island won $72 million from the New York State Lottery. The winning ticket was sold him at a ShopRite owned by Mannix Family Supermarkets. Kevin Mannix, owner of the company, says that he got $10,000 from lottery officials for having sold the winning ticket.

"Yes, I'm sitting in my office looking at an enlargement of the check right now," Mannix tells ABC. He donated part of his winnings, he says, to the Salvation Army, some to the Food Bank of New York, and some to Project Hospitality, which is providing relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. "That was the appropriate thing to do," he says. After that, he had exactly $1 left over, which he used to play the lottery.

He didn't win.

Mannix's ShopRite has been lucky once before. Six years ago, a group of 10 bakery employees split a $19 million ticket. Nine of them, says Mannix, decided to keep working and are still on the job. None went wacky or became a drunk or wound up in jail. Some, he says, "bought their dream house." Others salted away the money, to be used later to pay for college for their grandkids. Some paid off mortgages. A few took trips. "They didn't spend foolishly," says their boss. "They're hardworking, blue collar people. It's a great story with a great ending."

There are sad stories as well. On Monday, DeeDee Moore, the Tampa woman accused of swindling and then killing lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare, was found guilty of first degree murder and other charges. Shakespeare had won $30 million in the Florida Lottery but gave it away to people who simply asked for it. His luck ran out when he met Moore.

"Abraham Shakespeare was your prey and victim. Money was the route of evil you brought to Abraham. You are sentenced to life in prison you shall not be elegible for parole," Judge Emmet Battles told Moore. You can read more about this story here.

Thanks to rdgrnr for the tip.

ABC News

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90 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by helpmewin.
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Win$500Quick's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
Florida
United States
Member #77815
August 1, 2009
3288 Posts
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Posted: December 15, 2012, 3:11 am - IP Logged

This is why I already have my "to-do" list. Winners who blow their money are the ones who did not have a plan before or after they won.

Numbers Don't Lie!

    Avatar

    United States
    Member #135809
    November 29, 2012
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    Posted: December 15, 2012, 3:19 am - IP Logged

    How is Wrestlicious an example of ambitions (rather than spending) leading decision-making after a winfall being more successful? 1) The outcome isn't even certain yet, 2) That's the dumbest idea and probably why the thing is on hiatus

      Avatar
      New Member
      oregon
      United States
      Member #136623
      December 15, 2012
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      Posted: December 15, 2012, 3:55 am - IP Logged

      Well good for the ones who do something positive with it and sad for the ones who destroy their lives. Everyone who has bought Tickets has always had the thought of what they would do and spend it on. Some i guess get caught up in the excitement and go wild with it. For me, im more logical with what i would do. i had several thoughts on if i won. Many positive and many Negative.

       My husband of course has made some pretty wild ideas that of course i laugh and say NO!  He said we can build a waterslide in the house lmao... Im more down to earth with thinking in the long run of making every penny count. To plan our future and our Daughters Future.. Also had to explain to him, the negative point of winning. Friends would change, family will change. The lotto can be such a burden and a blessing.

      So for the Winners , i Hope more make good of it...

      Also anyone know? For Mega Million/Powerball has their ever been a Winner in Oregon... See alot of California's and Eastern state Winners...

        helpmewin's avatar - dandy
        u$a
        United States
        Member #106669
        February 22, 2011
        17814 Posts
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        Posted: December 15, 2012, 4:40 am - IP Logged

        Well good for the ones who do something positive with it and sad for the ones who destroy their lives. Everyone who has bought Tickets has always had the thought of what they would do and spend it on. Some i guess get caught up in the excitement and go wild with it. For me, im more logical with what i would do. i had several thoughts on if i won. Many positive and many Negative.

         My husband of course has made some pretty wild ideas that of course i laugh and say NO!  He said we can build a waterslide in the house lmao... Im more down to earth with thinking in the long run of making every penny count. To plan our future and our Daughters Future.. Also had to explain to him, the negative point of winning. Friends would change, family will change. The lotto can be such a burden and a blessing.

        So for the Winners , i Hope more make good of it...

        Also anyone know? For Mega Million/Powerball has their ever been a Winner in Oregon... See alot of California's and Eastern state Winners...

        waterslide sounds like Fun Smiley

                         

          DC81's avatar - batman39
          MI
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          August 31, 2007
          977 Posts
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          Posted: December 15, 2012, 4:51 am - IP Logged

          How is Wrestlicious an example of ambitions (rather than spending) leading decision-making after a winfall being more successful? 1) The outcome isn't even certain yet, 2) That's the dumbest idea and probably why the thing is on hiatus

          Tax write off. I doubt he lost much (maybe even did profit) on it unless his partners ripped him off, that sort of thing doesn't require much in way of a budget. That said, it may be on "hiatus" but this is one of those cases where "hiatus" means dead.

          Wasn't a good investment but he kind of did what he wanted though I'm sure the other guys had his ear the whole way but in the end it wasn't something that ate a significant chunk of his winnings..

          You can't predict random.

            s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
            Hard Luck, Ak
            United States
            Member #23472
            October 13, 2005
            254 Posts
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            Posted: December 15, 2012, 5:00 am - IP Logged

            If I am ever fortunate enough to win the lottery I would follow the 2 rules of investing by Warren Buffet.

                                                               Rule# 1 Never lose money

                                               Rule# 2 Never forget Rule #1

                                                     Sun Smiley

            "We make a living by what you get, You make a LIFE by what you give!"

                                                                           Sir Winston ChurchillSun Smiley

              savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
              adelaide sa
              Australia
              Member #37136
              April 11, 2006
              2812 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: December 15, 2012, 5:43 am - IP Logged

              say you had $10 mill in investment income  and owed $1 mill a year in taxes.

               year 1, $1 mill loss on  investment 1

              year 2 $1 mill loss on in investment 2

               year 3 $1 mill loss on investment 3

               

              and they where all hobbies you had a dream of  operating?  you still had 9 mll of income, and just happened to blow the taxes on failed investments?/ hobbies?

               

              Still the thing about having definite plans stands. people with plans do better than people with no plans. cuz if you dont plan your life someone else will.

               

              "Best case, we have a huge hit. Worst case, I have a tax write-off."

              was the quote i recall.

              2014 winnings

              JAN S 119/ W71;  FEB S90 /W 13 ; MAR S93/ W75;  APR S146/ W50 ; MAY S94/ W32 : JUN S98 /W 13 JUL S110 /W21; AUG S185 / W56 SEP S 140/W 13 ; OCT S 130 / W 66

              S $1292W $450Tot -$840

               

                rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                United States
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                April 28, 2009
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                Posted: December 15, 2012, 5:55 am - IP Logged

                "...the ones who, five years later, wind up drunk, broke, in jail or hounded by the IRS?"

                Well, at least I don't have to worry about that.

                I'm already a drunk!  Hyper Stretch 

                  dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                  Oklahoma
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                  November 12, 2009
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                  Posted: December 15, 2012, 7:35 am - IP Logged

                  He was on Lottery Changed My Life, he has since moved back in with his parents seems like he has learned from the Wrestlicious debacle. Anyway he seems like a bright kid.

                  I Love Pink & Green 1908

                    dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                    Oklahoma
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                    November 12, 2009
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                    Posted: December 15, 2012, 7:36 am - IP Logged

                    "...the ones who, five years later, wind up drunk, broke, in jail or hounded by the IRS?"

                    Well, at least I don't have to worry about that.

                    I'm already a drunk!  Hyper Stretch 

                    Cheers

                    I Love Pink & Green 1908

                      Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                      S.E.Iowa
                      United States
                      Member #120509
                      December 21, 2011
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                      Posted: December 15, 2012, 8:10 am - IP Logged

                      Steven Danish's opinion is just that...an opinion.Everyone seems to have an opinion on how lottery winners should spend their money.Why should Steven Danish be any different?

                      When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                      There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

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                        cleveland
                        United States
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                        July 30, 2009
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                        Posted: December 15, 2012, 8:12 am - IP Logged

                        "...the ones who, five years later, wind up drunk, broke, in jail or hounded by the IRS?"

                        Well, at least I don't have to worry about that.

                        I'm already a drunk!  Hyper Stretch 

                        ROFL....They say timing is everthing.....well you definitely got great timing!!!


                          United States
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                          September 7, 2011
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                          Posted: December 15, 2012, 9:02 am - IP Logged

                          Cheers

                                 Cheers

                            Artist77's avatar - batman14

                            United States
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                            January 16, 2012
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                            Posted: December 15, 2012, 9:26 am - IP Logged

                            How is Wrestlicious an example of ambitions (rather than spending) leading decision-making after a winfall being more successful? 1) The outcome isn't even certain yet, 2) That's the dumbest idea and probably why the thing is on hiatus

                            I have seen worse ideas take off and make a ton of money.  Look at Jersey Shore Show, etc. Better to try if you have a creative idea than not at all.

                            Just as the bird sings or the butterfly soars,

                            because it is his natural characteristic,

                            so the artist works.

                            by Alma  Gluck