Don't Be Too Jealous of That Powerball Winner
Life + Money

Don't Be Too Jealous of That Powerball Winner

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News that one lucky lotto player (or group) in South Carolina will take home the entire $400 million Powerball Jackpot is enough to make anyone green with envy.

After all, just buying a ticket is enough to conjure up dreams of mansions and maids, and of the ability to say goodbye to that pesky nine-to-five.

Maybe that’s why nearly 40 percent of adults say they’ve purchased a lottery ticket in the past 30 days. Last year alone, Americans spent a whopping $78 billion buying lottery tickets.

That’s a whole lot of money thrown around in the hopes of raking it in.

But would boatloads of cash really make you much happier? Studies of lottery winners suggest that’s hardly a sure bet.


Other studies of money and happiness find that greater wealth does not always bring greater joy. A 2010 study from Princeton University found that emotional well-being does improve as your income increases – but it also levels off after $75,000. (If yesterday’s lotto winner opted for 30 annual payments, he or she would net more than $13 million per year.)

Still convinced that a few hundred million bucks would give you reason to smile? You’ll soon have more opportunity to find out. Starting next month, Mega Millions will boost its starting jackpot level and allow the total booty to increase more quickly when no top winner is selected.

Your odds of actually winning the top jackpot are 1 in 175 million. You’re literally 600 times more likely to be struck by lightning.

But, hey, you never know.