Purchasing a lottery ticket may be a daily ritual or an occasional indulgence. Whatever the case, dreams of winning big and starting a new life are more prevalent than the number of times it actually occurs. Yet the few with the lucky numbers have often found that sudden riches only present new problems.
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The name and town of the lottery winner are a matter of public record. It is impossible to win millions of dollars without anybody knowing about it. Beyond the token newspaper article or interview, lottery winners have found themselves bombarded with unwanted publicity. This rise to fame, though initially appealing, can ultimately be difficult to deal with.
The amount a lottery winner receives is not the amount publicised. Uncle Sam takes his portion. In addition, the lottery winner must decide between a lump sum payment or a yearly payment. While a lump sum is more money at once, yearly payments can mean more money over time.
With the new money and fame come those seeking to feed off the winner's good fortune. Friends, family and acquaintances may emerge from the woodwork, requesting loans, money for luxuries, or that the lottery winner invest in a business venture. Charities and other organisations may ask for donations. Winners have reported being constantly harassed for a piece of the riches. In the most extreme cases, they have been blackmailed or even sued.
Some lottery winners may invest their money wisely. Yet all too many have gone on a bender, spending millions of dollars on a lifestyle that proved too costly to maintain. Winners have often gone into debt in an attempt to keep up. Others have given in to the repeated requests for cash and witnessed the complete loss of their winnings within a few short years. Newspapers are full of stories of lottery winners who, after having quit their jobs to enjoy the better life, found themselves depending on public assistance to subsist.
Lottery winners have had to face the fact that an increase in wealth often means a change in identity. The one thing they may be known for is winning the lottery. They are rich. Popularity may come to lottery winners not for themselves, but for the substantial bank account behind them.
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