The perception is once you win the lottery, you are set — you're in great shape. But in reality, the battle has just begun —Andrew Stoltmann, attorney
So you didn't win a share of the $656 million Mega Millions lottery? Good for you.
"The perception is once you win the lottery, you are set — you're in great shape. But in reality, the battle has just begun," Andrew Stoltmann, an attorney who has represented lottery winners, told USA Today. "Often lottery winners do not have much experience with managing money and lack basic investing skills."
Winners easily make bad investments and waste the money on expensive stuff and be ripped off by scammers. The article even had advice for winners:
Keep that winning ticket safe
Create a trusted advisory team
Sit tight for six months
Don't rely on the familiar when investing
But only three won the big prize.
"After (the jackpot) had grown for more than nine weeks," another USA Today article pointed out, "Americans had spent nearly $1.5 billion on tickets — the equivalent of nearly $5 for every man, woman and child in the USA."
ZeroHedge.com called it "lining up in lines around the block to pay more taxes."
The Tax Foundation had statistics from 2010 that showed what states were paid this "tax." Delaware's implicit lottery "tax" was the largest, at $370 per capita. Rhode Island's was $324, West Virginia's was $314, South Dakota's was $145 and Oregon's was $142. Seven states (Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming) had zero implicit lottery "tax."
ZeroHedge.com quoted Nicholas Colas from ConvergEx, who said, "Lotteries essentially target and encourage lower-income individuals into a cycle that directly prevents them from improving their financial status and leverages their desire to escape poverty."
The Consumerist said, "Poor folks — households earning under $13,000 per year — spend about 9 percent of all their income on lottery tickets."
But still, Twitter was full of people tweeting their dreams of winning the lottery. Many people said they would make it so their mother would never have to work again. Others were a bit strange: "Pay the taxes on that lump sum and become a ninja!" "Buy you all the 'Glee' character cardboard cutout of your choice," "Pay Rebecca Black and Nicki Minaj to stop singing," "Buy a wiener dog army. Not joking," and "Buy a wolf dog and some pizza."
Patrick Pierce, a political science professor at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind., told the Deseret News that states use slogans such as "You can't win if you don't play" to sell tickets.
"That's true, but you can't lose if you don't play," he said. "They're counting on citizens not doing the math, thinking, 'It's not so much money. I'll go ahead and plunk it down.' They're never playing the odds when they're playing the lottery."
This article contains aggregated content from USA Today, zerohedge.com, the Tax Foundation and The Consumerist.