Does Winning The Lottery Change Your Life?

You already know money doesn’t buy happiness. But money used well can make life more comfortable. Research and studies on lottery winners have revealed some interesting findings. The November 2018  Psychology Today article, “Would Winning The Lottery Really Change Your Life?”   said a 2011 study of lottery winners by Bengt Larsson found that people tend to stay the same after they win. They don’t escape from their circumstances and become a different person. Larsson concluded that big prize winners tend to consume more but maintain the identity and social relationships they had before they won.

Another study by Bengt Furaker and Anna Hedenus found that less than 12 percent of lottery winners quit working. Many stayed in the same jobs. The Psychology Today article said research shows people react differently to sudden wealth but many choose to adopt sensible financial strategies to maintain their winnings, manage their finances, and maintain relationships. 

A Business Insider article presents findings similar to the Psychology Today piece.   It says the research indicates that winning the lottery doesn’t make people happier in the long term, nor does it make them more likely to go on spending sprees that leave them broken and unhappy. Winners mostly report ending up about as happy as they were before winning.

One explanation of why being an overnight multi-millionaire doesn’t bring long-term happiness revolves around how the thrill of winning wears off. Even extremely positive events cease to have an impact after a while. Lottery winners become accustomed to the additional pleasures their new wealth brings. Those pleasures soon become a new baseline on which the person judges their happiness. The greater pleasures become less exciting and intense because they become part of the new norm.

For more information:

What Becomes of Lottery Winners, The Atlantic, January 12, 2016

How Winning The Lottery Affects Happiness According To Psychology Research, Business Insider, August 24, 2017

A Classic Psychological Study on Why Winning the Lottery Won’t Make You Happier, New York, January 13, 2016