Reddit user u/PurposeNearby4121 posed the intriguing question: "People who know someone who won the lottery, how did they change?" The replies quickly filled with an array of stories, both triumphs and tragedies, that had me totally engrossed. Here's what people shared:
1."Someone in my town won $110 million while on a holiday somewhere in the country. The dude became really arrogant and destroyed his relationship with both his wife and son. He bought some of the most expensive cars and multiple houses/properties. He then began wanting maids and private chefs, which led to his wife divorcing him. His son can’t stand him anymore, and the wife is paranoid of him showing up to her house. It’s a sad story."
2."I worked with a lady who was two cubicles down from me. She would buy the lottery religiously, and one Friday, our boss said to her, 'I'll laugh if you win the $55 million and come in on Monday and quit.' Well, she sure did. She was the first solo winner in my city, and she quit Monday morning. She and her husband didn’t change much. They just remodeled their home and continued to live simple lives. Both are retired. She was 42 when she won. This was about 10 years ago now."
3."A guy I went to high school with won the lottery in his early 30s. He bought the low-income housing block he grew up in and his mother still lived in, completely renovated it, and kept it low-income housing. I don’t know what else he did with the money, but he changed a lot of families’ lives for the better with that one purchase."
4."My grandparents took our entire family on a cruise, and then paid for all of the grandkids' college educations and first cars. They bought a new house and cars, but they took the payment over years option, rode it out, and traveled all over the world."
5."My sibling's childhood friend's parents won $1,000 a week for life in the early '80s. It was hell for them. They were already the 'rich' relatives to both their families. In reality, they were upper-middle class. They sold their house and essentially went into hiding for over four years. Their relatives were absolutely RELENTLESS in trying to track them down to get their share. It was terrible. Their kids (14f, 10m) had to be pulled out of school. The family eventually modified their last name to be untraceable. I came home from school one day to a carload of their relatives waiting to talk to my brother about his friend's whereabouts. It was frightening. Luckily, our neighbors intervened and made them leave. My brother was hiding in the house. He recognized them and had ducked down the alley to the back of our house. We barely saw his friend after that. I think they moved to a larger city on the east coast."
6."I knew a guy who won $3 million, sunk a bunch into his business to get out of debt and expand, and it still went under. Blew through the remaining money on frivolous purchases including cars, boats, and jewelry. He got taken advantage of by people, but he was super popular and the life of the party. Less than five years later, he was broke and working overnights at a warehouse so he could watch the kids during the day."
7."My own dad won a few years ago. Not a huge amount, but in the seven-figure range. He was a single parent working construction all his life, so we were never well-off and were barely middle-class for years. My dad has become pretty weird about it. He’s too afraid to spend it. He gave me some money to help me pay off some credit card debt, a little bit for a bigger car because my own family is growing, and he says he wants to help us with a down-payment for a house. I don’t like to ask for any help and have never asked him for a dollar because he’s the type to hold it over your head. He also went down the QAnon rabbit-hole, and we found out he spent thousands of dollars on Trump bucks thinking he was going to be rich-rich. That crap was a scam."
"Last I know, he’s spent hundreds of thousands on precious metals and weapons for the end of the world, but he still hasn’t really made a dent in his money. Every day, he calls and tells me the government is going to shut down the banks soon, so he just wants to get rid of it at this point."
8."She divorced her husband, a baggage handler for American Airlines if I recall, and married a rich flashy Cuban guy. But, she did split the prize with her first husband."
9."He bought a house, got sober, and invested a bunch of time into hobbies. He went from being a good guy to a great guy. Super proud of him."
10."They won $2 million and paid off their debt, plus made a few large purchases. Friends, relatives, churches, and charities found out and asked for loans and handouts. Eventually, the money ran out, and they ended up stealing a bit from some organization they were the treasurer of because they wanted to chase that high again. I can't remember if they did jail time or just did community service, but they had to sell some things and ended up only slightly better off than they were before winning the lottery."
11."Years ago, I worked with a guy who won the lottery. He was only 17 at the time, and you had to be 18 to claim the prize, so his dad did it for him. Apparently, people came out of the woodwork looking for handouts, and the dad was a generous guy. He gave his son enough for a down-payment on a house, but after that, lost everything giving those handouts to people. My friend said winning the lottery was the worst thing that happened to his family. I don't think he ever even used the down-payment to get a house, as he was still renting at the time."
12."My coworker won $250,000 on a scratch-it. He ended up with $170,000. He bought a house and a used car, then took his kids to Disneyland. Then, the story gets weird. He wanted to move to a different state, so he sold his house and moved into a Value Inn in that new state. Then, he proceeded to never find a house. He spent ALL the money living in a garbage hotel. He had some pretty big problems that just seemed to get worse. Eventually, his mother passed away, so he moved back to his home state to live in his mother's old house. Poor guy."
13."My folks won it in 2015, and now they think they can just throw money at every problem. I became a widower, and their reaction was to throw money at the problem. No wonder I have no contact with them."
14."A friend of a friend ran a restaurant in NYC. The guys in the kitchen (dishwashers, porters, etc.) were in a lottery syndicate that cleared them a few million each. They decided to keep working. At first. The restaurant owner noticed they kept calling out for shifts more and more often, and eventually they quit or were let go. And it's probably not surprising. Continuing to work sounds down-to-earth, but it was actually a stressful, dangerous environment (burns and sharp objects) with unsociable hours, and they started to realize that life didn't have to be like that."
15."My friend's aunt won about $800,000. She gave her immediate family members $1,000 each (about 15 people), paid her and her husband's student loans in full, paid off all of her debt and house mortgage, and decided to invest the rest. She still works at a school as a head teacher, and my friend tells me that her mentality is something like, 'What easy comes, easy goes,' so she doesn't spend the money lavishly."
16."She told not a soul, had her tax attorney create a trust to claim the winnings, then threw a huge party for her coworkers whereupon she told everyone and gave her one-minute notice. We all laughed until we realized she was serious! The trust directs funds to several local charities, and high school students benefit from the scholarships at the small high school. She sold her condo, moved to Spain, and has been living her very best life for the past 23 years. I knew her on a professional level only, yet am so proud of her."
17."They won something like $25 million in the mid 2000s and have since forgotten that before the lottery, they were a truck driver and teacher's aid. They sue just about anyone who looks at them wrong and have become a general plague on a town of 5,000 people."
18."I know someone who won $750,000 and pretty much blew/wasted it in under two months. They bought every person who lived with them expensive vehicles and bought a house and a ton of other useless stuff. The truck they bought their kid was as much as the house."
19."A friend's family won when we were in junior high. Their house started getting all kinds of gaudy adornments. Big weird fountain in a U-shaped, really short driveway (where everyone else in the neighborhood had a straight driveway into the garage). Big stone lions on each side of the drive entrance. Comedically tall entrance door on a single story ranch. Giant waterslide into their tiny pool."
20."My friend won just under $30 million and dropped out of college to learn to manage her money herself, then finished off her degree online and moved from the east coast to the west coast to start her dream career. She invested most of her winnings, works a 9-to-5 job she loves, and got married and has a couple of kids now. Her personality didn’t change at all. She’s goofy as hell with her friends and an absolute sweetheart."
21."I worked with a woman who won a substantial amount shortly after the lottery was started. We worked in a small bank in central Texas, and all she wanted was to keep working, take care of her family with a new house, and save for her kids' college. Within a few days of coming back to work after claiming the money, she had to quit because people wouldn’t leave her alone. The phone calls to the bank alone tied up our phone system to the point where they were unusable. She said that people she hadn’t heard from in years were trying to contact her, and random people calling for 'donations' were making her life absurd. She quit, moved, and went no-contact with most people after that because she couldn’t handle the hounding. I felt really bad for her because she seemed kinda shell-shocked from all the attention."
22."A cousin of mine and her husband won a lot once, but I'm not sure how much. They basically bought a huge house in the woods and had eight children, plus they fostered a lot of children. I babysat for them once, and when I tell you this place was huge…you could have fit my entire apartment now and then some just in their ‘movie room.’ They also had two swimming pools, a tennis court, and a basketball court (converted every winter into an ice rink) in the backyard. I definitely envied those kids when I was younger."
23."My ex's father won the BIG Powerball in Michigan in the '90s. He spoiled his kids with little consequences (none of them graduated high school on time, including my ex), divorced his ex-wife (who became a rich drug addict), let his new wife take over the finances, and in my opinion, it ruined their family."
24."A family member won a smaller state lottery, but there were a few winners, so her after-tax amount was about $750,000. She immediately dropped off the grid, got an attorney, and claimed the money without revealing her identity. She only told close family members four months after the fact, which was a smart move since our mom and a few of her friends immediately started asking for Gucci bags and other high dollar items. Her personality remained the same, but she became a lot more carefree and took a year off work. She made a few luxury purchases (two Teslas and moved houses), but my father and I convinced her to invest the majority of it into her retirement and for her kids' college funds."
25."In high school, one of our gym teachers won the state lotto twice within a year, just under $2 million in total, I think. The only change we noticed was that he bought an H2 Hummer. He was still a pretty cool dude and kept teaching, as far as I know."
26."My friend’s family won when we were in fourth grade. They were already well-off, and their lives didn’t change that much; their vacations just got nicer. What blew my mind was that this was their second win. First time was $50,000, second was $8 or $9 million. The dad just loved playing the lotto."
27."Her parents bought a large luxury house on a private road in a small English town. They had both their daughters' families move into the house, too. A year later, the dad left the mom for a young piece of skirt. They sold the house, and the mom split her share with her girls, and they all lived close to each other in rented homes. It's only been five years, but the money is all gone. Lavish holidays and overpriced rentals chewed through their funds. The mom now works nights in a care home and rents a small place with her two daughters. Both had their partners leave them as the money ran out. Lovely family, but sad to see them scraping by now when they had so much, once upon a time."
28."Idiot had a gigantic, tacky wedding to someone he soon divorced and had to pay out. Gave huge amounts to friends and family members who squandered it, just like he did, on a jet, skis, and houses. Now he's bankrupt."
29."They bought a big house and went on loads of vacations, then years later, had to sell the house and downsize. In the end, they spent every last penny."
30."This girl was jumping from one crappy job to another. She won not a massive amount, but enough to be able to study two or three years without having to work. She was able to land a good job and nice paycheck thanks to her studies, so it basically changed her life for the better."
31."The dude who details my car won the lottery, and he still details cars. He used the money to buy his kids houses, and says he just likes making people happy. A ridiculously amazing man."
32."Childhood best friends' parents won a million. They put one daughter through dental college, and the other through college for speech pathology in America. They still live in the same house I spent so much time in as a kid. As far as I know, they kept their same jobs until retirement. I went to their house once as an adult, and they were fostering kittens. Nicest people ever. I couldn't think of someone I'd be happier to win."
33."30 years ago, a high school teacher won the lottery. He gave half to his brother. He bought himself a fancy car and continued to teach. He finally met someone to marry. He already had a house and just lived in the community. Super nice guy. It was something like $10 million. When I asked him why he didn’t retire, he said, 'I am 30 years old. What else am I going to do with the rest of my life?' So, he taught for a few decades and then retired."
34.And: "A family member won a relatively small $200,000. I advised him to consult a financial planner to figure out how to put the money to work. Instead, he quit his job and threw it away inside of 18 months. Now, he's back to living his broke life, working for less than he was before he won the money. We barely talk anymore because I can't stand to listen to him whine about how much everything sucks because all his money is gone."
Have you ever known a lottery winner? How did the money change them, if at all? Tell us in the comments!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.