Ahh…the lottery. That extra tax on people who are really bad at math. Many believe it’d be great to hit the jackpot, or at least know the winner who strikes it rich.
But according to research, you probably want to be as far away from the winner as possible.
Most of us are aware of the elevated risk of bankruptcy caused by winning the lottery, but in 2016, Georgetown University discovered additional risks in the lives of those living next door to the newly minted multi-millionaires. Wanting to know how inequality impacts financial distress, they chased down lottery winners in Canada and investigated the effect their windfall had on their neighbors.
It wasn’t pretty.
While those living next door to the big winners might hope for a block party or updates to the neighborhood landscaping or maybe even a new car, reality was quite different. Those unlucky enough to live near lottery winners were “significantly more likely to declare bankruptcy within a few years of the big event than are people living near ordinary folks.” In fact, for every $1,000 increase in prize money, the risk of bankruptcy among the neighbors jumped by 2.4%.
Simple. When the lottery winners upgraded to a luxury SUV, increased the size of their big screen TV, and put a couple new jet skis in the garage…envy and jealousy compelled their neighbors to attempt the same. Unfortunately for them, they just can’t keep up with their affluent neighbors.
Perhaps it’s best to follow the example of the Apostle Paul:
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Philippians 4:11-12)
Click here for the online report.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)