Richard Arvey is not surprised to hear that 16 Powerball winners say they plan to remain in their jobs in a public school cafeteria.
It's common for lottery winners to continue working, according to a soon-to-be published study by Arvey, a University of Minnesota organizational psychologist, and colleagues at Rutgers University and the University of Haifa in Israel. The decision to stay on the job is influenced by the amount won and how important work is in a winner's life, he said.
Whether you're a new millionaire or just experiencing the more prosaic reality of retirement at age 65, leaving work can be traumatic, Arvey says.
"Work provides comfort and structure," he said. "It provides stability with regard to friends and routine - and those are things money can't readily buy."
Arvey and his fellow researchers surveyed 117 people who won the Ohio state lottery over a 12-year period and whose winnings ranged from $20,000 to almost $5 million. They were asked whether they continued to work after winning, and they rated the significance of work to their well-being.
Most - 63 percent - continued to work. Six percent quit working, but only briefly. Ten percent started their own businesses. Only 4 percent quit work altogether.
But there's a price on the fulfillment work provides - about $9 million. People who win more than that were much more likely to turn their lives over to full-time leisure. After taxes, the Holdingford winners have the option to take home about $2 million each.
Work is an anchor in many people's lives, Arvey said. One of his study participants - a 64-year-old bus driver who won $20 million - described the lottery as "just a bonus that came my way. It has not or will not affect my work habits and goals in life."