Common Sense

Fortunes Won and Lost?

So each of these Nebraska lottery winners is going to get about 15.5 million bucks, after taxes. Sounds like a lot of money. But what do you bet more than a few of them will blow it? I don't know who, I can't say when, I just think that will happen. I've seen it before.

Let's say the first thing they do is spend some of that dough: pay off a mortgage, buy a house —maybe another house — a car, a pool.

Let's say the $15.5 million gets whittled down to $10 million.

Yes, five million goes on goodies. It'll happen, trust me. Lottery experts tell me the first third goes like that.

Some of them, and I stress some of them, start wising up. They'll want to invest the rest, maybe in something super conservative. Let's say a 10-year note, yielding about 4.5 percent. That would spin off $450,000 a year in interest.

That's more than enough to live on. But you know what? A lot of big winners in the past couldn't get by on a lot more than that.

So they went back to pick off more of the principle — for more toys, more boats, more houses. Hearing still more pleas from relatives they thought they never had and friends they thought they always knew.

Suddenly they're the big men and women on campus. Everyone wants a piece of them and each piece has a price.

A fortune won and, I predict, for a few of these smiling folks today, a fortune lost.

I hope it doesn't happen. But sadly history proves it all too often does.

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