You are working hard – holding down a necessary job to keep a roof over your head and put food on the table. You devote personal time to commute back and forth daily, and you’re just trying to keep the wolves from the door. Suddenly, the unthinkable happens. You purchased a winning lottery ticket and now you are a sudden multi-millionaire. Your first thought after you calculate the winnings is that you will never have to work another day in your life.
Even though you do not yet have the money in hand, you just cannot find the motivation to keep up with the grind of it all: the stress, the time away from the kids, the wasted time commuting, and the wear and tear on your car. Why? You have just relieved all of that necessity of working by winning the lottery.
Impulsively, you stop by the boss’s office and cheerfully advise him that you are quitting your job, effective immediately. If the boss complains that you need to offer a two-week notice, you think, what is the company going to do, fire you for breaking policy? And? You just won the lottery.
Then, you swing by the auto dealer on your way home, just to look around, and you realize that you can replace the faded car you drove to the dealer. In just a week or so, you can buy anything on the lot for cash with a negotiated discount. No discount for cash? So what? You just won the lottery.
And tonight, you take the family out to dinner to the most elegant restaurant in town; whatever they want on the menu is theirs for the taking.
You have not even received a dime of the winnings and you’re already spending money like it is a renewable resource of no effort to obtain.
So far, your track is entirely predictable. Statistics indicate that you are going through exactly the same motions as most lottery winners, as if it was a singular brain driving all of them through a routine. It’s a brain that appears incapable of thinking through sudden circumstance.
You may have even read that most lottery winners end up poorer than when they won and, right now, you cannot imagine how they could be so stupid.
They couldn’t imagine it either.
How can you make it a different and happier ending?
First, it may be best to re-think quitting your job. Sure, take a vacation, but there is thinking and learning to do. Just because you’re a millionaire does not mean you know how to handle that much money, even if you decide to take the lottery winnings in a structured settlement rather than a lump-sum payment. That can be changed later.
You need to be able to stay focused on remaining active during the day. If you want to have your dream job, get the education necessary and go for it, but keep an active and challenged mind and body running.
You need to learn how to handle your money so it does not slip through your fingers in five years. Buy that expertise from a capable source (probably not your brother-in-law).
Be generous, if you wish, to charities who are worthy of the donation. That does not include every “long lost” cousin who suddenly comes to the door. Your mom and dad, sure; they sacrificed much for you. Take care of your kids and their education.
But continue working to keep your self-esteem.
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