It sounds like an ideal scenario for folks who are struggling to make ends meet — but in reality, falling face-first into a fortune can be more like a nightmare than a dream come true.
The family factor
Whatever the source of a windfall might be, many people are concerned about relatives — and to a certain extent, friends or acquaintances — coming out of the woodwork and asking for a handout. Some newly rich folks might not even believe that they deserve their wealth and struggle to adapt to their new financial situation.
Financial advice columnist Charlotte Cowles recently responded to one such woman who inherited a substantial sum when her mother died. Writing for The Cut, Cowles advised:
- Invest in a therapist who can help sort out the mixed emotions and jumbled thoughts.
- Rely on those closest to you for support — even if you think they’re looking at you differently now.
- Set clear boundaries regarding your own spending and how much you’ll give away.
Learning from others
Unfortunately, there are countless stories of lottery winners and others who came into a fast fortune who squandered their money, were taken advantage of by those they trusted, or faced frivolous lawsuits from jealous people in their lives.
Without a solid plan based on expert advice, you could easily fall into a situation like Billie Bob Harrell Jr., who won a $31 million lottery jackpot in 1997.
Less than two years later, he was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after his entire life had fallen apart. His wife left, he fell victim to a scam, and his once-jolly demeanor disappeared forever.
It’s possible to make smart decisions with a windfall and live a comfortable life with the newfound wealth … but that doesn’t change the fact that money can’t buy happiness.