As much as the public scoffs at and derides the former big-moneyed athletes who mostly go broke within five years of retirement, most lottery winners are afflicted with the same fiscal curse. They have no concept of money or how to maintain it or make it grow. Within several years, most of lucky lottery lads are not only out of their precious millions, many wind up deep in debt — or worse.
As Eddie Murphy famously said in the comedy classic Trading Places, “the best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.” And he’s right; some of these fiscal fumblers are really hurting after being catapulted into riches overnight, only to have their magic carpet rides crash and burn in spectacular fashion.
Some of the following examples read like a great Greek tragedy. After the lottery makes it rain all around them in the beginning, most cannot pick up and hold on to their bundles of Benjamins because of various personal shortcomings. Or, paraphrasing from another famous comedic actor, Will Smith: money doesn’t change you; it only amplifies who you really are. And some of the following are really flawed.