Edwards was profiled on a show called, "The Lottery Changed My Life." I remember thinking, even as I watched, that this man was on a mission to destroy himself.
Edwards told a story of how he went to pay for his gas one day, and he tipped the cashier $1,000. She blurted, "Sir, you gave me way too much money!" Edwards replied, "Oh, no, honey; that's your tip, but here's another thousand for being honest." This is the man who drank twelve-dollar bourbon from an $18,000 eighteenth-century beer stein. He was a poser, plain and simple; he wanted people to know, "Hey, I'm rich and you're not; don't you wish you were me?"
The simple fact is, Edwards was more concerned with, and more intrigued by, playing the Big Shot with deep pockets than he was in planning for the future of his family. He believed, as most people do, that money is an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. The money he won could have, and should have been sufficient to last through the lives of his grandchildren and beyond. But, because it was so important to Edwards to be the envy of everyone he met, he spent more time showing off than considering his wealth and how to manage it properly.
$85,000 per month equates to an income of $1,020,000.00 per year. Edwards defiantly spurned that security in favor of a lifestyle his fortune would not support. If one's income is $85,000 per month, but he's spending $100,000 per month, he should realize very soon that something must be done. Edwards had some very good people working in his interest, but he chose to ignore their advice because it didn't fit with his spending habits.
I'll say it again, folks; if you're planning to win a major jackpot (in excess of $10 million), pick up the phone and make an appointment to speak with a QUALIFIED financial planner. A qualified financial planner is not your brother-in-law who works at the bank, and she's not your sister who's a CPA. Look in the yellow pages under, "Financial Planning" or "Financial Planning Consultants." Call them and make an appointment; they'll be happy to sit down with you for an hour and walk you through the intricacies of what you'll need to do when you hit the big one. He can tell you what needs to be done in order to set up a trust, he'll explain your tax liabilities (present and future) and how you can minimize the taxes you'll pay on the income from your trust.
He'll also explain why you should make an effort to live within your means, no matter how much money you make. If you make $400 per week, and you want something that costs $1,000, you have up to three choices available to you: You can go to the bank or a family member and borrow the money; you can take the money from your savings, assuming you have that much in your account, or you can save $50 a week for five months. If your income is $85,000 per month, and you want something that costs $255,000, are you willing to commit your next three paychecks to that item just so you can have it right NOW? The samrt thing to do would be to wait a couple of months or so, until you can afford to spend that money without having the expenditure affect next month's check.
If you want your fortune to outlive you, talk to a qualified financial planner BEFORE you win your jackpot. If you do, all the information you'll need to make intelligent and informed decisions will come flooding into your mind just when you need it most. If you fail to take this step, or if you decide to wait until AFTER you cash in your winning ticket, you run a very significant risk of ending up like David Edwards or Jack Whittaker, simply because you won't have the knowledge you'll need at that crucial moment when you discover that all six numbers on your ticket match those that were drawn.
I'm just not smart enough to understand why people continue to pursue the lifestyle of a junkie once their wildest hopes and dreams have come true. What, exactly, are they trying to escape? How can illicit drugs possibly enhance one's current status as a multi-millionaire? If you find yourself buying cocaine and heroine to make your life easier following a jackpot win, maybe you should consider talking with a qualified psychotherapist, because you surely have issues which need to be addressed. I'm really not kidding about this; many, many rich people spend three to five hours a week in counseling sessions, because managing a large fortune can be somewhat stressful (notice, please, that I said managing, not spending).
Edwards should have realized he had some major problems; he had enough good people looking out for him who told him so. Had he listened to them, it's likely that he would be healthier today, and that his fortune would be largely intact. That was his first mistake - he hired a good financial planner, a good attorney and a good CPA, but then he failed to heed their advice. If you're going to pay people for their skills and services, you're simply throwing money away if you don't allow them to do their jobs.
Sudden wealth is called that because it's unexpected. That's why it's important to prepare yourself before it happens, in order to prevent what happened to Edwards and his family from happening to you and yours.