Published On: Mar 28 2012 09:23:53 AM CDTUpdated On: May 04 2016 11:08:54 AM CDT
Take a look at some previous winners of huge lottery jackpots. For some, money does not bring happiness.
The winners of the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, January 2016's $1.586 billion Powerball, included two married couples, David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith of Florida and John and Lisa Robinson of Tennessee. Both took their winnings in one lump sum payment of $328 million before taxes. There was also a winner in California, but that ticket holder has not yet been identified.
Three winning tickets were sold for the March 30, 2012, Mega Millions drawing that had a then-record $656 million pre-tax payout. The Kansas and Maryland winners chose to remain anonymous. The Maryland winners were three public school employees known only as the "Three Amigos."
Merle and Pat Butler, a retired couple from Illinois, had the third winning ticket.
Gloria C. MacKenzie, 84, of Zephyrhills, Florida, is noted as the largest sole lottery winner in U.S. history, claiming the entire $590.5 million Powerball jackpot in May 2013. MacKenzie opted to take a lump sum of $370 million, which came to about $278 million after taxes, according to The Associated Press. She has kept a low profile since her win, being photographed out shopping at Walmart and for dinner with her son in June 2013.
For some, the money brings unwanted tragedy. Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr., a West Virginia businessman, won $314.9 million in the Powerball in 2002. At the time, it was the largest jackpot ever won by a single winning ticket. But Whittaker was robbed several times, was accused of bouncing checks at casinos and his granddaughter (seen here with him in December 2002) was found dead from a drug overdose.
For others, the money slips through their fingers like water. Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice -- in 1985 and 1986 -- for a total of $5.4 million. But according to Bankrate.com, she lost it all and now lives in a trailer park. "Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language -- 'No,'" she said.
Bankrate said such sad tales are all too common with lottery winners. "For many people, sudden money can cause disaster," said Susan Bradley, a certified financial planner in Palm Beach, Fla., and founder of the Sudden Money Institute, a resource center for new-money recipients and their advisers. "Money can cause as many problems as it solves."
Bill Pomeroy, a certified financial planner in Baton Rouge, La., has dealt with a number of lottery winners who went broke. He told Bankrate that many winners make the mistake of thinking they know what they're doing. "They are willing to plunk down large sums on investments they know nothing about or go in with a partner who may not know how to run a business," he said.
Bradley told Bankrate that she recommends lottery winners set up a "DFZ," or a "decision-free zone." "Take time out from making any financial decisions," she said. "Do this right away. For some people, it's smart to do it before you even get your hands on the money."
Bradley also said winners should consider investing before making a big commitment like buying an expensive home.