The Truth of Hitting it Big

May 23, 2023 | Articles

Don’t we all have grandiose dreams of all that we’ll do if we ever won an enormous amount of money? It’s practically an American Dream! But the windfall that drastically changes people’s lives are the ones that don’t last. Those are the horrific stories of failed dreams or ruined lives by lottery winners. The danger of a greedy and completely changed life is real. Most winners who stay the same are reportedly those who are successful later in life and who have changed very little about themselves with their winnings. 

Taxes Are Big
Since winnings are really only a fraction of what the overall prize was, your take home is always just a portion of what you thought. You are taxed on whatever you win, and on the inflated amount that the show states. Keep that in mind. Your actual winning is less than you think. All winners have agreed that the taxes are awful.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job
You don’t receive your winnings immediately. Usually it will take between 90 and 120 days to finalize your prize. Some huge prize winnings aren’t awarded once up front, it is awarded annually over many years. McDonalds Monopoly awards their $1 million dollar winner $50,000 a year over the course of 20 years. The winner is an eventual millionaire, but not an instant millionaire. Some people choose to live off that amount each year and have year-long vacations. Others choose to spend a little of the money paying off debt or buying a fun item, and investing the rest. Keeping their day jobs has helped them to stay on top of life bills and continue living within their means. 

Invest Like A Millionaire
Jonathan Berr wrote an update on a few million dollar winners and their lives now. They’ve splurged on…mini vans! But generally, they are investing their winnings in the usual boring places like stocks and bonds. Read the article here to see what happened to the winners and their money. Some have made big purchases, but not completely changing their lifestyles. 

The Scoop On Prizes
Trips advertised aren’t always worth what the show claims they are worth, especially after the winners are taxed. Blackout dates may not be honored, and so the value of your trip will change based on the season. The show may substitute cash-in-lieu of the prize, without an option to exchange prizes and money. You get what you get! Not that any winners are really complaining about receiving less than they expected for their participation, that’s par for the course on these shows. 

The Whirlwind
Shows are taped with only ten minute intervals. If a contestant wins a huge prize there isn’t much time to celebrate. It can be hard to process. There is also a confidentiality agreement, and three weeks before their own air shows. During that time, they are advised to get their affairs in order. 

Whether you win or not, the experience is once in a lifetime. 

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