Win or Earn?

It’s a miracle! You did it! You actually did it! You had a better chance at having identical quadruplets but you, you lucky snake of a monkey’s uncle dog… you achieved every American’s dream.

You won the lottery.

And then six months later you spent it all, racked up debt you can’t pay, and finally were forced to pay your taxes.


It’s a problem as old as the lottery itself. People without money to manage manage to win a ton of money only to mismanage their money and somehow manage to lose millions of dollars.

At least that’s what the statistics say. Apparently some 70% of people who win the lottery end up broke in just a few years.

And then there’s family. UGHK! Don’t get me started on family. Always thinking you owe them a new Ferrari. Apparently, rationality goes out the window when everyone learns you’re a millionaire. And then people turn into less gracious, more selfish people.

I think everyone knows this already, though. Didn’t you? You’ve been on the Internet before, right? I’m certain you’ve heard of the people who won the lottery and then blew it all away before they ever got a chance to actually enjoy any of it.

So, let’s write a 7th grade paper.

What would you do if you won the lottery? And let’s assume you’re going to be smart about it and not waste it all away. You can leave your answer in the comments, I’ll grade them, and then I’ll let you know whether or not I’ll be grading on a curve.

Just kidding!

I never grade on a curve.

I suppose most people would attempt to say things like:

“First, I’d pay off all my debts.”

“Next, I’d probably buy myself a new car, because I need a car to get to work.”

“Oh, and I’d totally keep my job. I’m a regular, average Joe.”

“I won’t change. I have no need to change. I will always be the same old me.”

“Wow! The media has really taken to this story. And I’m pretty sure I have a stalker. I should probably move. You know, to keep my family safe. I don’t need a big home, but being in a closed neighborhood would be nice. For safety. And a security system. For safety.”

“And while we’re at it, I’ll start sending my kids to a private school. For safety.”

“I think we’re going to take a vacation to escape all this excitement. People are being very obnoxious. It’s my money, Sr. Mary Paul! The orphans had their chance. OK, fine. Here’s a donation for socks or whatever.”

“You know, it’s nice to get away from it all. Perhaps we’ll get a small condo in Florida, just for vacations. We can rent it out as an Air BnB when we’re not using it, to make sure we make our money back.”

“And I can’t remember the last time I had a good meal at a nice restaurant. What’s that? We’re broke. Well that doesn’t make any sense! I never even spent that much?! It’s all these moochers! Everyone’s trying to get their piece of the pie, but no one left any for my family! Bunch of-”

Ok, that’s enough of that. Did you even read it all?

My point is there’s no point to this thought experiment. Because (A) you wouldn’t really follow your “What if I won the lottery?” plan anyway, (B) you have a better chance at dying from being left-handed and using a right-handed device incorrectly than you do of winning the lottery in the first place, which means (C) you’re never going to win the lottery so you have nothing to be concerned about.

However, go through this thought experiment anyway. Think of everything you would do and everywhere you would go. What would you buy? Who would you donate to? Would you help any family members? How much would be set aside, never to be touched? How much would you spend on frivolous items such as a new cell phone every six months? And just how much money would all of this cost you?

After you figure that all out, try thinking about this:

What would you do to make that much money?

You do realize that you could buy the things and travel to the places and donate to the orphans right now? Don’t you? If only you would do what is necessary, work hard, and earn the money. And save the money. And NEVER spend the money. You could end up with so much money. And you wouldn’t have anyone suddenly appear out of nowhere hitting you up for a cool 10k or a new car or a yacht.

So, instead of thinking about what you would do IF you won the lottery, try thinking about how you can earn that money now. Because you can do it.

-Diggs out

P.S. – even still, I’m with you. I’d rather just win it.

P.P.S. –

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