Could you cope with becoming an overnight millionaire?
Well I’ve just been browsing a popular online news site and came across the story of the 84 year old mother of four from Florida who has just won the biggest unshared lottery prize in American history, $590 MILLION DOLLARS! Why they don’t just round it up to a Billion and have done with it I’m not sure but I think that many of you reading this post could think of a few ways to spend some of that money. As much as most of us think that we’d enjoy having that much money at our disposal, the article did have me wondering whether I could cope with that kind of overnight fortune, especially if it was received in such a way that the whole world knew about it.
I know it does sound ridiculous that someone might struggle becoming an overnight millionaire but let’s think about the reality of it.
Taking some time out of my day to write for this blog is probably about as close as I’ll ever get to any kind of public attention, and to be honest I’m quite happy about that. I’m not the kind of guy that likes to be the focus of attention – though some of my friends might disagree – especially not the centre of a media storm anyway. Imagine it. One day you’re a normal person, in your normal house, living your normal life. If you want to take your kids to the park in the evening you can do so in peace, if you fancy a trip to the shopping centre to buy some new clothes, again you can do so at your leisure. What do you think life would really be like if you were to win $590 million dollars overnight? I suspect that for quite a long period of time you would find the paparazzi snapping you any time you leave the house and it’s not the just the paparazzi, it could even be tough to ignore the whispers of ‘They’re the ones who won the….’ echoing around you. You might even find it difficult to sunbathe on your new private beach without someone trying to take a snap. If you don’t believe me, ask Kate Middleton.
What would people want?
Fair enough, if you were to win $590 million dollars overnight, then the decision of which friends and family to dish out financial windfalls to shouldn’t be that difficult, or would it? What if you only won a million? I know that sounds ridiculous, only a million but it would make for some difficult decisions. Would all the members of your family expect you to pay off their mortgage? What if you did it for some and not for others, would you create some kind of family divide? What if you decided to help out a couple of your close friends, how would your other friends feel about that? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.
While we’re on the subject of friends, would your relationship with your friends ever be the same again? As much as we’d like to think it would, let’s be realistic. Would jealousy kick in with some of them? Would you still be content to go to the local café for a drink or would you now prefer to head to more expensive places? Places your friends can’t afford to go to on a regular basis. No problem you say, I’d pay for them. Well that’s a very noble gesture but would your friends want you paying for them all the time or would pride get in the way? Would you want someone paying for you all the time if the situation were reversed?
Where would you put the money?
Deciding how to protect or invest the reasonable savings you currently have can be stressful enough, imagine the decisions you’d be faced with if half a Billion dollars were to suddenly land in your lap. You’d have meetings with financial advisors all telling you different things, which would you trust?
While we’re talking about trust, I wonder if it would be possible to ever trust any new person that comes into your life ever again. I’m not the most trusting person in the world as it is, never mind if I suddenly had millions of dollars that people might be trying to get their hands on.
Money has benefits but it also has drawbacks
So you suddenly find yourself with the money to buy anything and everything that you could ever want. What would you spend it on? Most people would likely go out and buy a dream home and fill it with expensive designer furniture, put a few amazing cars on the drive, invest in a few famous pieces of artwork, but hold on. Now you have to think about how you’re going to protect all of these new expensive assets. So up goes the big security fence, coupled with some top of the range alarm monitoring system. I’m not sure if I’d feel more or less secure in my new personal prison than I did in my old more modest home.
I suppose whether you find this post depressing or refreshing depends upon your outlook. Personally when I think about all these questions, it makes me far less jealous of the predicaments faced by our record lottery winner and far happier with my current more modest lifestyle.
What do you think? Could you cope with becoming an overnight millionaire?
On another note, here are some of my favourite posts from other bloggers around the web this week.
Canadian Budget Binder ~ Summer Jobs For Students: Tips For Finding The Perfect Job
20’s Finance ~ How I Would Invest $1,000,000
Money Smart Guides ~ Understanding Inflation
Reach Financial Independence ~ The fantasy world where money doesn’t exist
Modest Money ~ Evolution of a Blog Design
Gajizmo ~ Cheap and Fun Anniversary Ideas
And I’d like to say a big thank you to all those who have given us a mention recently!
Lifestyle Carnival 6.2.13 — Faithful With A Few
Carnival of Financial Planning – Belated Edition | Budgeting In the Fun Stuff