What if You Won?
That is exactly what happened May 18 to 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie in the small town of Zephyrhills, Florida. According to USA Today, It was the largest jackpot ever in the multi-state lottery's history.
For more than two weeks Ms. Mackenzie kept the residents wondering and speculating who among them had won the Florida lottery. Under Florida law, the winner cannot remain anonymous. Now they know she was the big winner!
Ms. Mackenzie chose to receive her winnings in a lump-sum payment, worth a $370.8 million. before taxes. She did not speak to reporters, but instead released a statement that she was "grateful for this blessing of winning ...and appreciate the interest of the public."
She met her husband just after World War II; the couple retired from northern Maine to Florida more than a decade ago. He died in 2005, and she's been living in a small home with a sheet-metal roof and an old TV antenna. Now, after taxes, she will receive about $370.8 million. What a blessing ! Or is it?
If she uses the money wisely, she'll be an exception to the rule. The National Endowment for Financial Education estimates that as many as 70 percent of Americans who experience a sudden financial gain often lose that money within a few years.
For example, one couple won $2.76 million; their marriage ended a few years later, a fire gutted their house, and every penny of their fortune was gone. A man who won $1.9 million spent it all and took a job at McDonald's flipping burgers. Another man won $16.2 million, but filed for bankruptcy within a year and now lives on food stamps. Here's the worst story I found: A woman won $5 million, but when her husband learned that she gave $2 million to a secret child she'd had with another man, he poisoned her with painkillers. He was found guilty of manslaughter.
Oh, the woes of sudden riches! Yet many long for them. May be the Bible is right when it warns of the dangers of "sudden riches." (1Timothy 6:10;