You are on your drive home from work. After a long, exhausting day the only thing you want to do is put your feet up, grab a beer, turn on the television and tune the world out before you go to bed.
Because you’re a creature of habit, you unconsciously decide to listen to the radio on your way home. As you flip the dial, you stop on the most unlikely of stations. The music playing is something you have heard before, but it isn’t something that you readily remember.
You tune in for a few seconds and realize that it is the theme song for your local lottery. Remembering that you have “the winning” ticket in your pocket you pull it out and begin to listen.
As the first number is called, you look down and laugh. It’s there. Then, the second and the third are called and they are there too. You think to yourself, “well, at least I have won another chance” only to hear that numbers 4 and 5 match your ticket. Your laugh has turned into an all-out explosion of joy.
Is this it? Has fate finally rewarded you for your many years of drudging through life?
Magically, 6 matches too. Now you’re shaking. You’re the most excited you have been in years. You want to scream but there is a lingering doubt in your head.
Then it happens…the seventh number is called and you have it.
In 20 seconds your life has changed forever.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to win the lottery? All your wildest dreams come true in the seconds that it takes to call out 7 numbers.
Unquestionably, you wonder:
- What do I do with it?
- How different will my life be?
- Who will I help?
- What will be the first thing that I buy?
I recently read (by recently I mean today) an article describing how Britain’s youngest Euromillions winner is suing the Lottery for ruining her life. That’s not a typo. She is going to take the lottery to court because winning £1 Million ruined her life.
At first, I thought, “You uptight, ungrateful…You’ve got to be kidding me?”
After processing it, I began to wonder if winning the lottery is all it’s cracked up to be? Does it truly change lives? Can it teach those who aren’t happy how to be happy again? Is there a correlation between happiness and money?
When talking about winning, Jane Park said, “I thought it would make it ten times better but it’s made it ten times worse. I wish I had no money most days. I say to myself, ‘My life would be so much easier if I hadn’t won’.”
And you know what? I believe her.
I did a quick Google search to find out if there were others like her. This didn’t take long. Within seconds, lists upon lists of people appeared in front of me. As I began reading, I wondered if all that money did in fact, show them how to be happy again? Or did it cause more problems than it solved?
I suppose the answer depends on whom you ask.
In 1998, Gerald Muswagon, of Winnipeg, Manitoba (my home city), won $10 Million. With his winnings he bought a few cars for his family, some big screen television’s and a house that he dubbed, “The Party Pad”.
The Party Pad was his undoing. It lead him down a path of alcohol and drug abuse. In 2005, after several run-ins with the law, Gerald took his own life.
David Lee Edwards
David Lee Edwards (not the frontman of Van Halen, that’s David Lee Roth) and three other winners split a $280 Million Powerball Jackpot. At the time he was unemployed and living in his parent’s basement.
With it, he purchased a $1.5 Million home, an assortment of cars tallying at $1,000,000, an $80,000 watch, 200 swords and other medieval weapons, and a $1.9 Million jet. Yes, a jet. He wasn’t completely stupid. In his buying frenzy, he purchased a $4.5 Million fibre-optics company.
And, of course, much like the Kanye West song Gold Digger, he even married a woman 19 years younger than he.
Within a year he spent $12 Million of his $27 Million winnings.
Eventually, he lost his house to foreclosure, his wife was arrested and charged with assault (she stabbed a boyfriend), and everything went downhill.
Can money show you how to be happy again?
No, and yes.
“A fool and his money are soon parted.” – Thomas Tusser
A study done by Psychologytoday.com, aimed to answer the question, “Is there a predictor of someone who spends compulsively regardless of the financial strain it may place on them? ” The study surveyed more than 1600 individuals and learned that “compulsive buying is fueled by poor credit management and a belief that new purchases will create a happier life.”
I am sure you knew that already. Here’s what you may not know.
Their results showed that “a lack of money management predicted individuals’ compulsive spending, regardless of their personality, gender, age, and income…” and on top of that, “Compulsive shoppers reported that they bought items to get a buzz or put themselves in a better mood. They also believed the purchases could change their life, for example by transforming their appearance, self-confidence, reputation, and relationships.”
If you were to merely look at the above, then yes, money can teach you how to be happy again. If it transforms a self-confidence, appearance, reputation and relationships, then surely this equals happiness? Remembering Gerald, David, and Jane might make you think otherwise. They bought fancy things, partied like a proverbial rock star and helped others, yet they remained unhappy.
Jane Park said that she felt isolated from her friends. Because of her wealth, she became unrelatable. Effectively, she felt like she had no one to turn to.
I ask you one more time. If money creates more problems than it solves, can money teach you how to be happy again?
The answer is yes it can, it just might be different than you think it is.
How to be happy again
Yes, money can teach you how to be happy again but only if you know what you’re doing.
Allow me to explain.
Use the money to buy the one thing that you can never get back…time. Buy time so that you don’t need to worry about finances for a year or two so you may build something special for yourself.
Hear me out.
Money, if used correctly allows you to take some time away from work so that you may focus one what you are meant to do and not what you have to do. This is known as your passion. True happiness lies in your passion. Imagine what it would feel like to wake up each day knowing that you are doing what most can only dream of doing…that thing you love.
I don’t want you thinking that you have to come into money through inheritance, the lottery, or by chance either. That is a fool’s dream. You have the option each day to use money to benefit the future version of yourself.
Instead of buying a car, boat, watch, jet or other depreciating items, spend your money on things that make you money.
- Real Estate
- Mutual Funds
- Currency Exchange
- Buying and selling items
Yes, you can learn how to be happy again. Your happiness, the happiness you dream of having is predicated on whether or not you are living the life that you want to live or the life that you have to live. Am I right?
If I’m not and none of this makes sense, go buy your boat.
Cheers to your success,