People who have won in the lottery think that their cash is limitless while unaware of their reckless spending habits. A lottery windfall may change people’s lives for the better — or for worse, that is, if they don’t know how to manage it.
Many lottery winners buy high-priced homes, cars, and jewelry. They also spend their winnings on parties, traveling, gambling, or just give their money away to friends as a way to share their bounty. More often than not, many winners make the mistake of thinking that they have more money than they actually have. So they don’t bother to save up or invest their winnings, or invest their money on the wrong ventures. In addition, many countries put high taxes on lottery winnings and many other prizes from gambling. For these former lottery winners who have lost it all, their money went as quickly as it came.
Even former winners faced tragic consequences in connection with their sudden wealth and fame that also disappeared in a flash.
As a warning to you in case you’ve just won big in the lottery, try not to follow in the footsteps of the following former winners who blew all of their fortunes.
Eisenberg, who used to have a job of changing light bulbs for $250 a week, became a sudden millionaire when he won the $5 million Lotto jackpot, which was the biggest payout in history way back then. But the following string of divorce settlements and failed marriages sucked up most of his winnings. Now 81, Eisenberg is presently residing in a mobile home, living on a $250-a-week pension.
The 19-year-old garbage collector found a sudden fortune at the national lottery in the UK, where he won 10 million pounds in 2002. Soon after he hit the jackpot, British media dubbed him “King of Chavs,” a phrase which he even emblazoned on his black Mercedes van.
Well, for a time Carroll enjoyed celebrity status, then started spending on drugs, partying, cars and jewelry. From business advice he received, he set up a four million pound investment bond. However, when most of his winnings were blown up, he had to start withdrawing money from his investment bond, which came with heavy withdrawal fees. By 2006 Carroll was declared nearly broke. In 2010 he went back to his old job as a garbage collector. Presently he works at a biscuit factory in Elgin, Moray in Scotland.
Sharon Tirabassi struck it rich in 2004 when she won over $10 million (Canadian). Tirabassi, who used to live in relative penury, wasn’t accustomed to handling such a huge amount of money so she wasted it astronomically — buying houses, cars, designer clothes, and giving generous handouts to family and friends. After blowing almost all of her money, Tirabassi was back in her old life. She’s now a single mother who works part-time to support her kids, and together they live at a rented home.
In 1989, Willie Hurt won a Michigan lottery jackpot amounting to $3.1 million. But just two years later almost all of his money was gone due to drugs (he became addicted to cocaine) and a messy divorce from which he lost custody of his kids. Not just that — he was even charged with an attempted murder.
The youngest millionaire-turned-bankrupt on this list, Rogers was only 16 when she won almost two million British pounds from a national lottery in 2003. Since then she went on a never-ending spending spree — properties for herself and her family, cars, and a couple of boob jobs. But her lottery win turned out to be a curse — she developed an addiction to crack, had a violent relationship with a criminal who became the father of her two children, and she attempted suicide twice. Everything went out of control for her and eventually, she faced bankruptcy.
Although virtually penniless today, Rogers said that she has never been this happier now that she has no money. She added that the lottery “has ruined my life.”
David Lee Edwards from Kentucky was an unemployed ex-convict when he won a share of the $280 million Powerball jackpot with $27 million. At the time of his windfall, Edwards and his then-fiancee Shawna Maddux were thrust into the spotlight and a sudden life of the rich and famous. After he won the jackpot, they got married and then bought a mansion at a gated community in Florida, several expensive cars and even a private jet.
Like many other millionaires-turned-bankrupts, Edwards mismanaged all of his money and the couple went into drug addiction which spiraled out of control. They were kicked out of their Florida mansion and moved into a squalid warehouse. Shawna later divorced him and remarried. Edwards, who suffered failing health in later years, died in 2013, aged 58 and penniless.
Gerald Muswagon from Winnipeg won $10 million (Canadian) in the national lottery in 1998. Not long after he bought a big house just for partying and doing drugs. He also bought brand new flat-screen televisions and cars for his friends.
He also started a logging business but failed. Later on, Muswagon became embroiled in a series of run-ins with the law. He served several months behind bars for dangerous driving and sexual assault. He ended up penniless and was forced back to a minimum-wage job to support his six children. In 2005, Muswagon ended his life by hanging himself inside his parent’s garage.
This is another story of how a lottery win can wreck your marriage: a now-divorced couple named Lara and Robert Griffith, who won 1.8 British pounds in the lottery back in 2006. Naturally, they loved living the high life and wallowed in luxury — expensive cars, a converted barn, and designer bags. However, their once-happy married life was destroyed by the lottery win. After Lara accused Robert of infidelity, he sped off in his Porsche, ultimately leaving his wife. Today Robert is left with only 7 British pounds in his bank account and gets an allowance from his parents.
Lisa Arcand, a single mother from Lawrence, Massachusetts, won $1 million in the lottery in 2004. Immediately, Arcand splurged her winnings on a new house, new furniture and a couple of getaways. She also planned to open a restaurant in her town. But less than four years after winning the jackpot, Arcand’s savings were wiped out and so she decided to close her near-empty seafood restaurant after falling behind on her bills.