Would it really be that great to win the lottery? Yes, of course it would be. You'd never have to worry about money again or work another day in your life. That is, if you played your cards right, instead of somehow blowing millions of dollars right away or getting yourself murdered. Here are some examples of people who won big but still lost.
1. Roger and Lana Griffiths, who won £1.8 million in a lottery in the U.K. in 2005.
The Griffiths bought a huge house with a massive kitchen in the English countryside, a Porsche and Lexus to park in front it, and enrolled their two daughters in a £10,000/year private school. (And Richard spent a fortune on recording an album with his old college rock band. Ugh.) Six years after the win, Lana kicked Roger out of the house when she found emails suggesting he was having an affair. A week later, he told Lana that due to overspending and bad investments, almost all of the money was gone. More than gone, actually, because Richard had used £700,000 as security against loans to bail out Lana's beauty spa business.
2. At age 19, Michael Carroll won the equivalent of $14 million.
Carroll was a petty thief who'd been out of jail; he had on an ankle monitor when he claimed his winnings. Four years after he won, he'd spent the money primarily on hookers and blow (as you do). After living in the woods for a while, he now bikes to work (he had his license revoked long ago) at a shortbread cookie factory. The one possession he bought with his winnings that he held on to: an Xbox.
3. Tonda Lynn Dickerson was working as a waitress at a Waffle House. That much is true. And even then she knew she'd find a much better place… when her winning numbers came through.
A regular named Edward Seward would frequently tip Tonda and two other waitresses with lottery tickets, all agreeing in theory if the waitresses ever won, they'd split the money three ways (and buy Edward a pickup truck). Well, one day in 1999 Tonda won the $9 million jackpot. She refused to share (or buy the truck) and she got sued. Tonda won in the courts (oral agreements are hard to enforce), but she couldn't beat karma (or the IRS). They stuck her with a massive penalty because, in setting up a family trust, she didn't realize that qualified as "gift" upon which she'd have to pay taxes to the tune of $700,000.
4. This guy on Reddit won the lottery, and he didn't want to share either. But he's got a good reason for keeping his parents away from his $15 million.
I offered to pay off their mortgages and give them a little sum but that's not good enough once they found the total amount.
I don't feel like they are entitled to anything and I'm being as generous as I can be (which I never said to them, but retrospectively I guess it's implied). The conversation got ugly and When my mom said, "we raised you", I immediately thought about how both my parents didn't talk to me for 5yrs (ages 15-20), when they found out I was gay. And I almost failed highschool because of it. Is that raising someone?
5. Best day ever: winning the lottery. Worst day ever: being murdered the next day.
On July 19, 2012, Urooj Khan won $1 million in an Illinois lottery. On July 20, 2012, Khan was found dead. An investigation ruled the 46-year-old died of "natural causes," as 46-year-olds are so old and just drop dead a lot. A second investigation revealed that he'd died of an almost undetectable dose of cyanide poisoning. Surely these events are unrelated.
6. Winning $735,000 in the lottery allowed Amanda Clayton to do what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, even if what she wanted to do was gross and/or illegal.
Shortly after winning nearly three-quarters of $1 million in a Michigan lottery, Clayton was arrested for fraud in early 2012—she was collecting state-funded health care and food stamps despite not really needing the handout. She was sentenced to nine months probation, a sentence that was shortened in October 2012 when Clayton was found dead of a drug overdose.
7. Evelyn Adams won the lottery in 1985. And then again in 1986.
The New Jersey woman beat astronomical odds and amassed a total fortune of $5.4 million. But Adams fought some demons that ate up her lottery winnings: gambling and shopping. By the early 2000s, she was broke and living in a trailer.
8. Jack Whitaker won $315 million. Then he literally lost a whole bunch of it.
Already a millionaire construction company president when he won a multi-state jackpot in 2002, Whitaker spent all of his own money and all of the lottery money by 2006. He had a tendency to do dumb things, like leave $545,000 in cash in his car while he was inside a strip club. Even money that's near a strip club tends to disappear—it was stolen while he was making it rain.
9. Abraham Shakespeare won the name lottery, then the money lottery, and then he got nothing but tragedy.
Shakespeare won $30 million in a Florida lottery. In 2009, the 47-year-old was shot dead and then buried under a slab of concrete. The murderer: a woman named DeeDee Moore who police say "befriended" him after his good fortune.