Powerball Mania! Would $1.5 Billion make you happier?

Did you catch the $1.5 Billion fever? I sure did. Yes, it’s silly and the odds of winning are 1 in 292.2 million, but this lady likes to dream big! Perhaps I inherited the craze from my dad, an avid lotto player. Or maybe I got swept by the frenzy? Either way, I had fun being a part of the craziness. I like to dream of all the good I could do with so much money, is that so silly?

my now worthless ticket

my now worthless ticket

But why do other people play? From the many conversations I’ve had with other lottery players, they play in the hopes that the lump sum of money will magically make their lives better. My interpretation - they play because they think money can buy them happiness.

Can it?

It depends.

Studies have shown that if you earn less than $50,000 a year, then yes, more money will make you happier because you won’t be living paycheck to paycheck. You won’t worry about how to pay for college, if your old car is gonna break down any moment, or when’s the next time you can take a vacation. If you make a lot less than $50k, then simply having a roof over your head and food to eat every night is a huge relief. Hunger makes me "hangry", not happy.

Funny thing is that after $50k per year (some sources say this number is actually $70,000), happiness has little to do with money. Once you have enough money to live comfortably and not worry about where your next meal is coming from, then happiness becomes a more complex issue. Because your physical needs are met, you finally have the luxury of figuring out what your heart and soul needs. This can be either very exciting, or very terrifying if you’ve never considered that your heart and soul may not need a Ferrari or a beachfront condo.

Historically, lottery winners that end up being happier do have a few things in common:

  • They are generous with their winnings by helping out family, friends or charities.  
  • They stay grounded and continue to pursue dreams they had before winning.  
  • They maintain healthy relationships, while also letting go of the jealous, resentful or envious people that only hate on their friend’s good fortune.

Did you notice that all of these can happen with or without a huge chunk of cash…? You can be generous with your time, affection or support to help out people or organizations you love. It’s vital to stay grounded and pursue your dreams. Maintaining healthy relationships and letting go of unhealthy ones will make everyone happier! No one likes “hater-ade”.

So next time you think that life will be so much better if you win $1.5 Billion, remember that is not a guarantee. You’ll stop worrying about bills, but you may start worrying about how the heck to manage so much dough - “mo money, mo problems” as Biggie said. The truth is, you can be happier right now. It’s simply a matter of choice.

With that, I’d like to leave you with a few lottery themed questions I always ask myself:

  1. How would my life be different if I won? Where would I spend/invest the money? 
  2. What would stay the same? What areas of my life are so awesome that I’m perfectly happy with them as they are? You’ll be amazed how many there are.

Let me know in the comments below and share with any fellow lottery dopes you may know of. Have an awesome weekend and I'll see you next Thursday!