8 Psychological Tips for Lottery Winners

8 Psychological Tips for Lottery Winners

How to avoid a mental and financial roller coaster ride

It seems odd to consider that winning the lottery could be the worst thing to happen to a person. For many, a lottery jackpot – or any large financial windfall, for that matter – conjures up dreams of larger homes, nicer cars, debt-free living, travel, and no more stress. It means freedom.

But because of poor planning and unrealistic expectations, winning the lottery can often be a curse. Many individuals who land a sudden windfall run into financial trouble by failing to institute a solid financial plan – and then, there are the stories of lost friendships or divorces.

So, whether you’ve bought a winning Powerball ticket or hit the jackpot on a scratch-off, consider these tips so you can stay a true winner.

  1. Get ready for the ride

Before the numbers are even called, jackpot hopefuls have big plans. But most are never fully prepared for actually winning.

The first step, then, is for you to brace yourself for the emotional rollercoaster that is winning. Experts and past winners agree that emotions can run the gamut from joy to anxiety, or from guilt to distrust. Steel yourself.

  1. Avoid “Sudden Wealth Syndrome”

Yes, that is a real thing. Defined by Therapist Stephen Goldbart, PhD, sudden wealth syndrome is when the newly-wealthy “feel cut off from their friends and family. They’re suspicious of investment counselors, afraid their kids will grow up spoiled or crippled by the money. And they suffer from an identity crisis because at the ripe old age of thirty-something they no longer have to go to work.”

Investopedia has a range of tips for avoiding its onset, including devising a financial (and life strategy), consulting with financial professionals, and keeping your distance from family members and friends who come out of the woodwork looking for money. Speaking of which …

  1. Know that winning may result in different losses

While getting ready for that rollercoaster, you’ll also want to prepare for the reactions from other people.

While many individuals will be genuinely thrilled for you, money can change the way people behave. Yes, there is jealousy – but there is also the phenomenon of family, friends, strangers, and long-lost relatives asking for loans. You will have to learn to say, “No” and be okay with it. It will be difficult, feelings will be hurt, and relationships may end.

  1. Keep the jackpot (mostly) secret 

This may be easier said than done. If your numbers are called, the first temptation may be to scream at the top of your lungs – but don’t. Your life is about to change, and this is an opportunity for you to control the rollercoaster.

Beware: Family members and friends may begin to see you as a source of “free money.” An attitude from others that many lottery winners have experienced is the idea that “You didn’t do anything to earn this money, so why don’t you loan me cash for a new car?” This can result in strained or broken relationships, not to mention financial jeopardy for a winner. And the easiest way to mitigate or avoid it is to keep your windfall a secret.

If possible, tell no one but your spouse or immediate family, and refrain from making extravagant purchases, especially in the beginning. Spending and giving should increase slowly so you’re not making poor decisions or raising any red flags that you’ve won a large sum of money.

  1. Do not be defined by the money

At some point, the honeymoon phase of winning will come to an end. It may happen after a month, or maybe a year. For some people, joy is replaced by emptiness, or excitement by worry.

Winners have a choice in this post-honeymoon moment: to continue to allow themselves to be used by the money or to regain control of their lives, by using the money as a tool to a more fulfilling existence.

  1. Beware of “hedonic adaptation

In time, winners get used to the good things in life. The rush of a new home and a new car wears off, and winners are left where their journey began: trying to figure out what truly brings them happiness.

According to one expert, greater happiness may be found in spending the extra money on experiences, while sharing those experiences with another person.

  1. Develop a financial strategy

For starters, have a clear understanding of how much you have, where it is, and how much income it will produce. Once this is established, it will be important create a budget, one that includes a policy for managing loan requests from family and friends.

It’s just as important to stick to a budget after winning as it was before your numbers came in.

That said, some spending is perfectly ok. On day one, if you have a solid plan and schedule to pay off any debt, go ahead and splurge on something you’ve always wanted. In the same vein, if you’ve stuck to the plan and controlled the roller coaster for some time, go ahead and take care of a few odds, ends, or indulgences. The huge upside to winning the lottery is that you have this freedom, as long as you are conscientiously keeping track of your financial situation.

  1. Develop a relationship with a trusted financial advisor

Now that you’re a winner, you will most likely develop strong, lasting relationships with professionals who can help you manage your money.

NuPoint Funding has a history of working with lottery winners to help them make the most of their winnings. Through transparency and professionalism, we will always help you effectively manage and track your money, so that you and your family can have a lifetime of security – and, ideally, happiness.

Call us at 1.877.635.3149 or complete our convenient online form for a free consultation with a member of our team.