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Winning The Lottery Isn’t Always A Happy Ending

Updated Dec. 18, 2013. The winning numbers in last night’s mega millions Lottery were 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39, with a Megaball of 7. The winning ticket was reported sold in San Jose, Calif. While we wait for the winners to step forward, most of the rest of us will have to come to terms with the fact that we will probably never be fabulously rich. Darn!

Recently, mind you, we were sitting around the Thanksgiving table listing all the things we have to be thankful for. But once the turkey leftovers were gone, we began to think that never having to worry about money again would make us really thankful. And it seemed like the quickest way to reach that point in life was to win the lottery.

If only we won the lottery, we thought, we would quit our jobs; spend with abandon instead of counting our pennies; be generous to friends, family and charity; or travel around the world. Instead, we have to face the fact that none of this is going to happen. So we need to show up at work on time tomorrow and go back to being thankful for the things we were thankful for last week.

As it happens, winning the lottery isn’t always the happy ending to a life story anyway. It’s just a financial opportunity. Some people make the most of it, and others blow it.

Among those who made the most of it are Jim and Carolyn McCullar of Ephrata, WA. They bought a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket in January 2011 worth $190 million. They’ve set up trust funds for their four kids and 23 grandchildren, have given generously to charity, and still have millions to spare. Even if you haven’t won the lottery, this is something you might want to consider if you have more than you need. (See my post, “6 Ways To Give Family And Friends Financial Aid.”)

Cynthia Stafford, who won in 2007 won $112 million in the California lottery, split the winnings with her father and brother (don’t do this without seeing a tax pro), then started a company and has also been very philanthropic.

Far more often, it seems, money doesn’t buy happiness in this context any more than it does in others. Take the case of Evelyn Adams. She beat the odds by winning the New Jersey lottery twice – in 1985 and 1986, collecting a total of $5.4 million. But she totally blew through the money with her own spending, bad investments, gifts to family and gambling. Today she lives in a trailer.

William “Bud” Post, a 1988 lottery winner, died broke in 2006. What happened to his $16.2 million Pennsylvania lottery winnings? He spent it on houses, cars, boats, an unsuccessful family company and a twin-engine airplane (even though he didn’t have a pilot’s license). Within a year, he was $1 million in debt. His former girlfriend successfully sued him for part of winnings, his brother tried to hire a hit man to kill him.

As these cases illustrate, winning the lottery is no substitute for good money management. For more about that, see my post, “10 Things To Do When You Win The Lottery.” Our money habits are formed long before we win the lottery. Use lottery winnings wisely and you–and your heirs–could live handsomely for many, many years. If you didn’t have smart money habits up until now, you could easily turn out to be your own worst enemy by quickly squandering the fortune.

Winning the lottery is just another financial opportunity. Some people make the most of it, while others blow it.

Mother of Five Manifests Lotto Win

Mother of Five Manifests Lotto Win

Cynthia Stafford was an ordinary, fun-loving, single woman from California who worked as an account executive for a computer technology firm. However, her life changed drastically after her youngest brother was in a fatal car accident with a drunk, underage driver. Cynthia took the children, ranging from eight to seventeen years old, from foster care and vowed to raise them herself. During the next ten years, Cynthia struggled between raising five children on her own in a 1 100 square foot house and helping her dad out financially when she could. In April 2007, finances were tight and Cynthia was about to lose her home after just losing the children back to foster care but instead of delving into a deep depression, Cynthia knew she needed to remain positive and her attitude soon manifested her dreams.

On Mother’s Day, May 11 2007, Cynthia won an incredible $112 million jackpot in the Mega Millions lottery. She recalled that she simply stood there and cried for a minute at the magic of the power of positive thinking. You see, Cynthia played the lottery about two or three times a month and had meditated, seeing the sum of $112 million pop into her head seemingly out of nowhere. For months she had visualized winning that amount. She said that she imagined herself holding the check with $112 million written on it, that she even imagined wearing her favourite green top and how happy she felt holding the check. Cynthia has been a believer of manifestation and positive thinking since she was a child and fully believes that “as you think, so shall it be”. She says that she knew she would win the amount, she just didn’t know when. And what a blessing it was!

The lucky winner was able to hire a lawyer and fight the system in order to get the children back – which she did within the time frame she had set out, thanks again to manifesting and positivity. Her next step was to buy a bigger property; one with a pool just like the kids had asked for. She then upgraded her car to a Mercedes-Benz R-Class, set up college funds for all five children and donated to charities which she had always admired. Cynthia also used part of her winnings to start up a production company called Queen Nefertari Productions and went on to help with projects such as the Polish Bar and The Brass Teapot. Besides setting up a good financial foundation, she also spoiled herself and her family with little treats such as a personal trainer, a trip to Paris and giving some of her winnings to her other brother and father.

“It changed my life tremendously.” She said, “I am able to do the things I’ve always wanted.”

Her advice to those who want to win the lottery and stay happy?

Live life and remember that what you think has a way of manifesting in your life – what you watch on TV, what you read, the people you surround yourself with. Once you win, being charitable is a great thing to do because “as you give, so shall you receive”. Also get a good tax attorney and financial advisor as you need to be prepared.

Cynthia Stafford was an ordinary, fun-loving, single woman from California who worked as an account executive for a computer technology firm. ]]>