Most of us have wondered what it would be like to win a million dollars. Or several million. Maybe even hundreds of millions! If you have ever bought (or even thought about buying) a lottery ticket, sent in a Publishers Clearinghouse entry, or gambled to strike it rich: take note. You’ve been warned.
I picked up Edward Ugel’s Money for Nothing: One Man’s Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions from my DCPL branch, and amusedly began reading. My smile quickly faded.
Apparently, the problem for many lottery winners with millions of dollars coming in is that it is never enough. And not coincidentally, a great deal of the winners are also problem gamblers. The author has changed the names and situations. He spent many years as a salesman and upper level manager of a lump-sum company that purchases lottery annuities from “lucky” lottery winners who are desperate for money–he knows quite a bit.
From the front jacket:
Ed met hundreds of lottery winners and saw up close the often hilarious, sometimes sad outcome when great wealth is dropped on ordinary people. Once lottery winners realized their “dream-come-true” multimillion jackpots were not all that they were cracked up to be, Ed would knock on their door, offering them the cash they wanted–and often desperately needed. This cash sometimes came at a high price, but winners were rarely in a position to walk the other way. As Ed learned, few of them had the financial savvy to keep up with the lottery-winner lifestyle. In fact, some just wanted their old lives back.
As a salesman for The Firm, I got a crash course in the reality of what winning the lottery actually meant. Within a matter of days after my arrival, the myth of the lottery had been replaced with the surprising truth. Winning was, for a majority of winners, a tricky, overwhelming mess with obvious benefits and a multitude of hidden dangers.
…only after I became a manager did I appreciate the extent to which winners were pursued by both my industry and anyone else who could figure out a way to leech onto them–friends and family included.
This book has several sad stories about these “winners” who found that their piles of money went very quickly and that the world now–even and especially their friends and family–became interested in them only for financial gain.
It really gives credence to the old saying, “Be careful what you ask for because you might just get it.”