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Currently, I’m on my way to therapy, where I’m going to reflect on my mistakes from the past 10 years. I won the lottery 10 years ago, when I was 19. I’m now 29 years old, I have a low paying job, and I’m living alone.
$50 million. I never imagined having that much money. And I never imagined that much money ruining my life. I lost the money. I lost family members. I lost friends. And, years after I won, I was diagnosed with depression.
When I first won the lottery, I was shocked, confused. Do I spend it? Do I save it? Do I share it? I asked myself these questions, but I didn’t know the answer. I was young and naive, I had little experience with money. I didn’t know what to do with it. But although I was conflicted, I was overjoyed with all the money. I thought I would be set for life; I would never have to get a job because I had all the money I would ever need.
I set up a plan of how I would spend my money. First, I would donate half of the money to charity. Down to $25 million. Then, I would set $15 million aside for family members who needed it. Down to $10 million. I would pay off school, get myself a car, a house, and other unnecessary items I wanted. After all of this I figured I would definitely enough left to last me the rest of my life.
My plan didn’t work out. I did donate $25 million, but I got nothing else that I had originally wanted. Everything that went wrong started when I suddenly received a phone call just two hours after winning.
“Hi Aunt Needra, I haven’t talked to you in so long,” I said.
“I know! It’s so good to talk to you. How is your life going?” Aunt Needra said, subtly guiding me to share my news with her. But I wasn’t going to break that easily.
“Good, thanks for asking. How are you?”
“Oh I am so glad you asked! I am actually having some issues right now, I’m having a hard time paying for some things. You know, I have 7 kids in college and all. And… oh! I heard that you won the lottery!” she said, changing moods quickly. Here it was. The start of people asking for money.
I thought to myself, I don’t need all of this money. I can give some away to my family members. And she might need it.
“Yeah, I did. It’s a lot of money and I don’t know what to do with it… would you like me to give you some?” I replied.
“Oh, you are the best niece! Thank you so much! Bye sweetie, have a good day,” she then hung up the phone.
We later discussed how much money she needed, and by the end of that day I was at $23 million… still a lot of money.
To just give away $2 million was a lot, but since I still had $23 million, it barely made a dent. Because of this, I thought it was fine. Until the next day where I received four more calls. And the day after that, and the day after that, I continuously got calls.
The first call was from my Uncle Dinero.
“Hi, how are you?” I asked.
“Oh, thanks for asking. I’m doing fine, but…” Here it was, he was about to ask for money from me.
“I mean I hate to bother you, but I’m having a hard time at work, and my son’s school is expensive, and I know you won the lottery…”
“Sure, Uncle Dinero. You can have some money,” I took a deep breath as he thanked me. $21 million is my current amount. Calls were coming in at rapid speeds, and I was having issues with saying no. So when my family members and friends were all all asking for a little money, I gave in. Suddenly, after just 4 weeks, I was down to $7 million.
I was writing checks non stop for family members I hadn’t previously spoken to. I realized this was going to keep happening. Some people even called back and asked for more. My money was slipping from my hands and I was doing nothing to stop it.
With $7 million left, I still got calls, but didn’t have much left to give. I gave all that I could, until suddenly I was in debt.
Here I am, 10 years later. How fast I went into debt was insane. One of my friends found out I gave another friend more than her. She shut me out because she was unhappy with me. My goal became making others happy, not myself. I hadn’t realized, at the time, how difficult of a position I was putting myself in. Everyone started shutting me out, and i was ultimately left with no one.
I tried to move on with my life, but my past mistakes continued to haunt me. I now realized how much I messed up. I got a job to pay back my debt. But with receiving only $200 a week, when I had gone $2 million in debt, it was extremely difficult. It was going to be years until I was financially stable again.
Money, which I thought would be the answer to all of my problems, ended up doing nothing except for causing more problems.
I was taken advantage of and while I thought I was being selfless, I was really just being irresponsible. Now as a smarter, yet sadder, version of myself, I realized what went wrong. The only thing I can do now is move on and forget my past.
My life now is different from what I ever imagined it being. I live alone, I am in debt, I am depressed, and I am disconnected from most family members and friends. Everything that I experience now is all because of what happened after I won $50 million.