Winning the lottery is an amazing, life changing experience. Unfortunately, depending on who you listen to, anywhere from 55-90% of lottery winners eventually end up broke. That seems unfathomable, but the problem is that, well, that people are morons, and when you add millions of dollars into the mix, they become even dumber. But we’ve got your back, America. We’re here to be the responsible adult in your head (an adult slightly obsessed with dick jokes, but still…) that pops up whenever you’re about to blow your fortune. So as long as you listen to us, and don’t do any of the nine following things idiots do when they win the lottery, you should be fine. You’re welcome.
I know you’re excited, but you’ve got to play it cool, man. There are a lot of assholes out there who are just looking for some naïve millionaire to prey upon. After all, in these strange and terrible times, that has basically become the American Dream. It’s one thing to tell your closest friends and family members about it (and even then you might want to downplay it a bit), but it’s quite another to be the dumbass who posts about it on Facebook for the whole world to see. You do that, and don’t be surprised if your long-lost “cousin” shows up at your door explaining that he’s going through tough times and he’ll totally pay you back as soon as his new business picks up. PS: his new business is swindling gullible idiots.
Budgets are boring. I get it. But you don’t want to be that guy hanging out the top of a limousine throwing wads of hundreds all over the street, whooping and hollering like a drunk sorority girl, either. Don’t just assume that the money will always be there, because the truth is that the world will do everything in its power to suck money from you like a giant vacuum shaped like a stripper. Always be aware of where you are at financially. No, you don’t have to obsess about it because that’s no fun and will turn you into a miserable Scrooge McDuck-style asshole, but you do need to have a general sense of your finances.
Now that you’re rich, you’ll probably have the urge to try to fit in with people who have been around big money all their lives. This won’t end well. First of all, there’s Lotto rich – think several million dollars – and then there’s Bill Gates rich – think several billion – and the difference between ‘m’ and ‘b’ there is massive. You might not think so, but that’s just because you’ve never had that much money and so it all seems like the same thing. You’ll find out it isn’t after being forced to pay for a helicopter to jump out of over the Alps in an extreme skiing vacation set up by your new billionaire friends. Second, they will always – always – be able to stay one step ahead of you in the new toys game, and you will spend your whole life – and all of your new fortune – desperately trying to keep up with them. It’s a fool’s game, and you should want no part of it.
We all have that one friend who says “I’d give it all to charity” or “I’d start a foundation.” Cool. Good for them. It’s nice to have good intentions. But there are good intentions, and then there is just being an irresponsible and smug idiot. People struggle everyday just to pay for the basics, and would do just about anything, including humiliating themselves in horrible ways, just to switch places with you. Be grateful that you’ve won a chance to not have to worry about those things anymore. Be thankful that you get to pursue life on your terms. That money is your chance to truly chase your dreams. Just giving it away is almost cowardly, an admission that you wouldn’t be able to handle the freedom it gave you, and a slap in the face to all those who could.
No matter how responsible you are – or think you are, anyway – that much money would quickly become overwhelming. Hire a professional to manage your money for you. You don’t want to end up with a gigantic ulcer just because you have to drag yourself out of bed at dead o’clock every morning to obsess about the performance of those stocks you picked just because you heard someone at Starbucks talking about them. You don’t need the stress. This stuff is too much for you. It just is. Accept it, and then hire someone you’re comfortable with – and who you trust – to safely manage your money, and set you up truly for life. Or you could just send it to me, and I’ll take care of it for you. Either way.
Look, I get it. You’re in a much higher tax bracket now, and seeing how much you owe probably makes you feel a little sick. But just pay it. Don’t try to get creative and fool the government, because then you’ll just be that guy who turned winning the Lotto into 3 to 5 years at Federal Pound Me in the Ass Prison, and no one needs that. Besides, it’s your civic duty. Quit laughing.
Just because your best friend’s neighbor’s dog-walker has a can’t-miss business opportunity doesn’t mean that you need to be the idiot who fronts him the money. This is a sure-fire way to just piss everything away. I know you want to be the hero who swoops in and makes everyone’s dreams come true, but in the end, you’ll both just end up broke and hating each other. If you really want to help, act like a professional. Hire people to take a look at the numbers and proposal – if your buddy doesn’t have one besides “Dude, this will be awesome, you’ve gotta front me,” then it’s time to start slamming doors in faces – and then listen to their advice. Just because you have money now doesn’t mean you are somehow a savvy businessman. You’re rich just because a computer spit out some random numbers. Never forget that.
Lots of people who seem cool and interesting will suddenly want to be your friend, and you will be tempted to start exclusively hanging with them because they’ll make you feel cool and interesting by extension. But they’re not your friends. They’re your money’s friends. The best way to stay grounded and continue living like a decent human being and not some cartoonish cliché is to keep your oldest and closest friends even closer. They love you for you, and as a bonus they’ll be extra protective of you and will help you sniff out all the bullshit artists who try to worm their way into your life. Except for me, I’ll totally be your friend.
You’re rich now. So what? Don’t be that guy. Just don’t. If an appropriate sense of decency and shame isn’t enough to keep you in line, though, consider this: if you treat people poorly, they’ll have no problems trying to rip you off whenever possible, and eventually, someone will be successful. And then you’ll just be a broke asshole, with no friends and no money, and no way to really get either back. Just be a solid dude and you’ll find that life will offer you so much more, and people will be willing to help you get everything you ever wanted.