The Best (and Worst) Lottery Success Stories


In honor of the second record lottery prize to be collected within the past year (you all remember dreaming about winning the first one, right?), I thought it would be appropriate to review a couple of lottery success stories – and huge lottery FAILS. These are my personal favorite out of thousands that are out there.

SUCCESS! (The Runner-Up)

The reason I like what the gentleman pictured above did with his winnings is because his wealth will be around longer than that of 95% of other winners. Picking the winning numbers in 2010, he opted for the lump-sum payment, taking home a little over $85 million. But what did he do next? Assemble a team of financial planners and advisers, with the goal of becoming a BILLIONAIRE. He invested around $70 million in a wide variety of both safe and risky assets, keeping the rest to take care of his family and probably buy things I don’t even want to know about.

Believe it or not, this is entirely possible. Assuming an annual return of 11% (roughly the average historical return rate of the stock market), and knowing that you’d have to pay 15% of your earnings in capital gains taxes when you turn your investments into cash, your $70 million would be worth over $1 billion in just 26 years. Good luck dude.

FAIL!!! (The Runner-Up)

Now, I don’t mean to make fun of the plight of others, but some peoples’ decisions just need to be recorded for posterity. Like this guy’s – William Post III. In 1988, he basically had  $42 to his name, so he decided to buy 40 lottery tickets. Great decision, right? Well, he did win $16.2 million, but within a year, he was $500,000 in debt. Soon after, he was divorced (again), his ex-wife had taken a lot of his money, he had spent most of the rest, his brother had hired a hitman to kill him and his sixth (yes, SIXTH) wife, he declared bankruptcy, emerged out of bankruptcy with over $2.5 million, spent all of that, and was eventually arrested for an old assault charge. Once he got out of jail, he was living on Social Security and food stamps.

His problems may have been slightly less intense had he bought a better phone.

GREAT SUCCESS!!! (The Winners)

This couple is my favorite. And not because they are successful, but because they did it without winning a multi-million dollar jackpot. In 1988, at the tender age of 18, New Zealander Angelie Williams won $250,000 (about $488,000 in 2012 dollars). But instead of spend it on all the things that another irresponsible 18-year-old might, she made smart investments and now has a large fortune – including an eight building, ten-acre estate in rural New Zealand. She even invested in Hydrodol, one of the more famous magic pills that cure hangovers. Cheers, Angelie!

MASSIVE DOUBLE-FAIL!!! (The Winner/Loser)

This one may (or may not) shock you. In 1985, Evelyn Adams won the lottery, only to quickly squander her good fortune away. Too bad, because lightning never strikes twice, right? Well, she won the lottery again. The very next year. In all, Ms. Adams won $5.4 million (or $11.5 million in 2012 dollars). Hopefully she learned her lesson and spent wisely the second time around, right? Wrong again.

Ms. Adams says her gambling addiction and her inability to say no to family and friends led her to where she is now. And where is she now, you say?

Living here.

We have all heard how soooooo many people have blown their winnings, and so I actually blame these success stories as being the reason why idiots we still play the lottery, hoping to win it big. Be responsible!

What is the most ridiculous thing you would buy with your winnings? Let us know below.

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One thought on “The Best (and Worst) Lottery Success Stories

  1. William Post’s story would make a better movie than 95% of the movies currently made. Fascinating.

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