Office pools for big lottery jackpots like last Friday's Mega Millions are pretty much the norm in most parts of the country. Everyone puts in 10 dollars to have their name attached to 100 tickets. It's a pretty good deal and can net a nice profit, assuming a win. And, as we all know, that's a big assumption. The other thing we all assume is that we can trust our office friends.
Well, one work group is learning a trust lesson the hard way. Mirlande Wilson, 37, who claims she had one of the winning tickets for last Friday's Mega Millions jackpot, bought the tickets with co-workers, but says the one that won was one she bought on her own. Hmmmm ... do I smell a lie?
If this woman, in fact, won and she DID buy the ticket on her own, she never should have entered the lottery pool at her office. And if she won and she won't share, then she is going to be yet another lottery tragedy. Why is this such a trend?
If you were anywhere near a newsstand last Friday, the papers were full of stories of lottery woe, most notably the tale of Jack Whittacker. He struck it rich with the lotto and destroyed his life, losing his entire family and, famously, a suitcase full of cash at a strip club, by becoming so rich.
The fact is, if money will change who you are and who your family is, then it isn't worth having. But, in theory, it shouldn't change much of anything.
As the story goes, people get their mega bucks, start spending wildly, give money away to long lost relatives, and eventually die penniless and miserable. Does anyone remember Hugo from television's Lost?
Well, here's an idea: How about if you win, you don't act like an idiot? How about if you share with your office pool as promised, visit a financial planner, don't quit your day job, and behave just as before? Greed never pays. You still have to be a human even if you win some money.
Personally, I am fairly confident if I won, I would have invested my winnings, used my good financial planner to make wise investments, and basically made little to no other changes. I wouldn't give money away to anyone who asked and I wouldn't brag about my millions in the bank. It's just poor form to do so.
It really does seem like going from being poor to rich so suddenly isn't a good thing for everyone. If Wilson DOES have a winning ticket, the mother of seven and Haitian immigrant will go from earning $7.50 an hour as a fast food employee to being a millionaire several hundred times over.
If she is already being greedy with the money, how do you think this story will end?
Money can really hurt people and warp minds, especially fast money like this. It's one thing to work your whole life and earn it, it's another to get a windfall. For Wilson's sake, I hope she is lying. I hope she is looking for attention and some fame because if she did win and she refuses to share, she is going down a dark, dangerous, and maybe even tragic path.
Buck up, lottery winners. Learn how to manage money and you won't be on the cover of magazines whining about how winning was the worst thing that ever happened to you. Oh and also: Be careful what you wish for.
Do you think this woman is a real winner?
Image via Sean MacEntee/Flickr