The Other Side of Jackpots



loan isolate apparent
cliché parted jackpot
lotto unmask tear up
arrest struggle hound (2)
thrust retire food stamps
murder lawsuit overdose
stuff payout long-lost
guilt factor guilt-factor
end up identify sense of self







This is the stuff of dreams:

Person One: “I’ll probably buy my wife a new car.”
Person Two: “I’ll be able to pay off my student loan.”
Person Three: “Retire — most definitely!”

Five hundred million dollars before taxes. That’s how much you can win in the Power Ball Jackpot.

If you win, you can buy a lot of stuff.

. . . But what about happiness?

Well, it turns out those clichés — Money can’t buy you happiness…Money doesn’t make the man…A fool and his money are easily parted —

There’s some truth to them.

Only about half of all lottery winners are happier three years later, says Michael Boone, whose Seattle firm advises big lotto winners.

Michael Boone, President, MWBoone and Associates: “I think Henry Ford said it really, really well. He said that money doesn’t change a person; it simply unmasks them.

And I think that really is what happens.

So people have all the opportunities that they dreamed of — but sometimes those are good thing and sometimes they’re not.”

Christmas 2002: Jack Whittaker of West Virginia had the only winning ticket of the $314 million lottery jackpot . . .

Two years later, his wife says she wishes — she had torn up the ticket.

Their lives in shambles. Their seventeen-year-old granddaughter was dead, after struggling with a drug addiction.

Whitaker faced multiple lawsuits and was arrested twice for drunken driving.

Abraham Shakespeare of Florida was murdered after winning $31 million.

Then there’s Amanda Clayton. A young mother who won a million dollars in the Michigan lottery. She made headlines when she continued to collect food stamps.

She was found dead of an apparent drug overdoes.

Are these winners just unlucky — or is there something more?

Psychologist Aldoan Tartt says big payouts can isolate people, thrust them into a world of wealth that is foreign to them. Long-lost family members may hound them.

There’s a guilt factor: who to help out and who not to.

And there’s a funny thing about money and happiness that you may not realize.

Aldoan Tartt, Psychologist: “You win a lottery and so you spend a lot of money. And what happens is, you get used to having a lot of money . . . and spending a lot of money.

And so what happens is you have to spend more money to get the same level of HAPPINESS.”

But what about the lottery winners who do end up happy. What’s their secret?

Experts say they don’t lose their sense of self and they can separate their identity from their money.

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1. Everyone (in the beginning of the program) wishes they could win the lottery. Is this correct or wrong?

2. Is the dream or fantasy of winning the lottery always the same as the reality?

3. “Money doesn’t change a person; it simply unmasks them.” What does this mean? Give examples.

4. What has happened to some (or many) lottery winners?

5. There are numerous psychological explanations as to why some (many) lottery winners become unhappy three years later. True or false? What are some of the explanations?

6. How do happy lottery winners differ from unhappy ones?
A. Do you know anyone who has won the lottery? What happens to people who win lotteries?

B. My friends or colleagues and I sometimes (or often or regularly) buy lottery tickets. Yes or no? What kind of people buy lottery tickets?

C. What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery? If I won $1 million, I would . . . . What should lottery winners do with their winnings?

D. Are some people hooked on or addicted to lotteries?

E. Is the lottery good, bad, both, in between or it depends? Does everyone agree to this? Does everyone feel the same way?

F. What will happen in the future?


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