Every so often, one will trip across a news feature that describes the misfortunes that sometimes “follow” lottery winners. The themes of the articles always seem to revolve around the idea that it’s actually bad to hit the jackpot, as evidenced by the tales of woe recited by the principals profiled therein. The latest piece I’ve read on this subject was published recently in The Tampa Tribune, and the story can be found here: https://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/oct/01/winning-lotto-numbers-not-always-ticket-dreams-suc/#. In keeping with the aforementioned theme, the sentence that begins the article reads, “One person’s blessing is another person’s curse,” so we know where this article is predominantly headed. Playing the lottery is obviously a poor use of money, or what some consider a tax on those that are bad at math. That said, this particular article doesn’t dwell entirely on the negative, and mentions a few winners who, amazingly, weren’t cursed by their windfalls. How in the world could that be?
If you do happen to be one of the fortunate who comes into a windfall from any source, I can tell you, as an investment manager, that the most important first step you should take is to make an appointment with a fee-based financial planner, one who is compensated only by the fees you pay him for his advice, and not by any commissions or transaction costs that are generated by investments he can sell to you. There are numerous ways to find such planners, and one excellent resource is the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (www.napfa.org). Make this appointment first…before you do anything of substance with your winnings.
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Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor-At-Large www.ChristianMoney.com