Win the lottery: be happy, lose friends

They say that the chances of winning a jackpot worth $200 million in the USA  multi-state Powerball lottery are so small that a person driving 10 miles to buy a ticket would statistically be 16 times more likely to be killed in a car accident.

But do not tell that to Dave and Angela Dawes when they won the £101 million (That’s about US $160 million and it’s tax free) EuroMillions lottery drawing last week.  They bought their ticket in the small town where they live; it does seem small towns have a disproportionate amount of big winners, wonder why.

Anyway as they say in OZ (Australia), good on ya for your astonishing luck and good fortune.  But there will always be some grumpy envious naysayers that wish somehow the Dawes serendipity will backfire on them.  

But while there have been cases of previous big lottery winners ending up bankrupt or killing themselves, contentment generally reigns supreme.  A hundred plus millions will do that, no surprise there.  

Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at Warwick University, has said: “Although many people don’t want to hear the evidence, it is overwhelmingly that winning the lottery makes you happier and improves your mental health.” It was a conclusion he reached after extensive research.

The Dawes (who are not married but are planning to be soon) may have made a mistake by announcing their success at a press conference and inviting the inevitable new friends they never knew they had to contact them in droves.  Price one pays for the chance to be on TV, a.k.a. the 15 minutes of fame that is generally best to be avoided.  

The Dawes’ plan to bestow great riches on “anyone who has helped us through our life”.  That may be well-intentioned, but it will probably anger more people than it pleases. Friends who are left out will feel they have been denied their just deserts. 

Dave Dawes said at the press conference that they would try to “do the right things” with their colossal fortune. But the “things” they have announced so far do not seem particularly generous or charitable.  That is unless you consider to be in the giving spirit buying a house for yourself  to be near your favorite pro sports team or traveling to Las Vegas.  (Does gambling and losing money to casinos count as donations?) 

How the Dawes spend their money is their business, but so far they don’t seem to be “walking their talk”.  And while money does not buy happiness, not having enough for basic necessities of life can be poison to one’s mood.  But lest not forget that health and friends to count on are as important as one’s financial standing.  

Leave a Reply