As the Powerball jackpot grew, jumping to 800 million and then to an unbelievable 1.5 billion dollars, the greatest cash prize in all of lottery history, social media began blowing up with hopefuls posting their wishes for that lucky ticket, often along with a short synopsis of what they would do with the money.
Even knowing how slim the odds (said to be somewhere around one in 292 million) were, people could not help but let their minds wander into a fantasy in which they were that one, and a four dollar ticket can certainly seem worth it when it has the potential to bring on such enormous wealth.
Of course, most of the hopefuls were inevitably let down, as the odds told us all along would happen.
Although those who did not see the numbers on their ticket matching those on the screen most likely would not count themselves as lucky, there are certainly people out there who would consider the losers as saved from a great misfortune.
We have all heard the stories of lottery winners who make it big and then lose it all quite fast, or who make it big only to have every friend of a friend begging for a portion of that money. Some, at the most extreme, have had a relative hire an assassin in order to more directly secure a portion of the money.
The list of people who win the lottery and feel as if they are in turn ‘cursed’ is actually quite extensive, and this shows a strange dark side to the ‘luck’ of winning it big.
Mark Cuban, a well-known billionaire mogul, decided to offer his words of wisdom on handling the winnings for whoever hit the jackpot, and he seems to offer advice that will somewhat combat the destructive potential of the Powerball.
While, historically, everyone seems to take the lump sump payment, Mark advises against this, according to Business Insider.
His reasoning is to avoid the number one mistake, the one that seems most likely to happen to a lottery winner: blowing all of the money quite quickly and being left with nothing.
It is quite easy to understand the reasoning behind winners’ usually choosing to take the lump sum, especially if they are of an older age, as they do not want to risk anything happening to them before they are able to truly reap all of the benefits of their prize. In reality, however, if one is not of older age, the incremental payments result in more money eventually.
Additionally, we are quick to believe it would be very hard to simply “blow” a billion dollars, but when one has no experience with money, and when one has relatives and friends wishing to share in the newfound wealth, I can imagine it would be easier than we think.
Taking the increments seems as if it somewhat takes away from the feeling of winning something, as is it not one large prize, but it could provide a stability that keeps one from doing anything too rash.
The most surprising advice Mark offers is regarding helping out family members, to which he bluntly says to simply say ‘no.’
When people dreaming on social media write about all they would do with the money, helping friends and family is often one of the first things on that list.
Now, maybe this is simply because friends and family are the ones who will be reading these posts, or maybe it is because people truly think they would do this if given the chance, and would expect it in turn from their friends and family.
Mark, however, believes that true friends will not ask. It is a difficult situation, and even Mark cannot fully offer advice on this matter, as he earned his money through work and business, and in a way,
Powerball winners do not have the same entitlement to their money, as they won it by chance – it just as easily could have fallen into the hands of one of the friends or family members asking for help.
In this situation, I find Mark’s advice, while possibly applicable to CEO’s or entrepreneurs who just made it big, more difficult to follow for Powerball winners.