What Happens to Lottery Winners

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They’re rich and happy, right? Nope: many blow it and suffer. Here's why.

The Associated Press talked to some past lotto winners, like Sandra Hayes…

Past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some more sound advice: Stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster of joy, anxiety, guilt and distrust.

“I had to adapt to this new life, “said Sandra Hayes, 52, a former child services social worker who split a $224 million Powerball jackpot with a dozen co-workers in 2006, collecting a lump sum she said was in excess of $6 million after taxes. “I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them. That caused a lot of emotional pain. These are people who you’ve loved deep down, and they’re turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me.”

Another winner said the money “was to blame for his granddaughter’s fatal drug overdose, his divorce, hundreds of lawsuits and an absence of true friends.” The ones who are eventually happy? They invest their winnings and live frugally.

Stacy Johnson

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