Whether it is possible to earn money from gambling and make a living from betting are questions which seem to bother many punters. Who doesn’t dream of landing a windfall someday — of winning the lottery, inheriting $3 million from a long-lost aunt, finding a suitcase full of unmarked bills on the bus — or a genie in a bottle?
The reality of life after a windfall isn’t nearly as rosy. In fact, being flooded with a sudden fortune, whether earned or inherited, can be highly stressful and sometimes even traumatizing, says a new breed of financial experts who call themselves “wealth counselors.”
Easy or sudden money has a dark side that most people do not contemplate, because it is always about the here and now. It’s easy to forget that, like any drug, money can have a strangely distorting effect on our lives — especially when taken in large quantities.
A windfall “changes all the parameters of how you live,” says Dennis Pearne, Ed.D, author of “The Challenges of Wealth” and a pioneer in this odd little corner of financial management. “It changes what you can do, what you no longer have to do, where you can live, how much you can travel. So much changes so fast that it can be terribly overwhelming, and some people go into money shock.”
According to Susan Bradley, sudden money brings out a chute of emotions. Greed and entitlement as she points out are expressed by the friends and family. ‘They will treat you like the goose that laid the golden egg. If someone bought the ticket for you, they will most likely feel entitled to share in the winnings.’
She also points out that when one wins a lottery, the initial emotion one feels is usually elation, which leads to some form of celebration. One might feel all powerful, able to use their money to make changes for themselves, their families and maybe the entire world. What begins as a quiet, private celebration of good fortune often moves to the local luxury car dealership and everyone gets a new car.
It is however said that not all people who gamble excessively are alike, nor are the problems they face. People with gambling problems are found in all age groups, income groups, cultures and jobs. Some people develop gambling problems suddenly, others over many years.
There are many reasons why a gambling problem may develop. For example, some people develop problems when they try to win back money they have lost, or because they like to be “in the action.” Others have many life stresses that make gambling a welcome relief.
Gambling and suicide
According to a 1996 report by the National Council of Welfare, suicide attempts are more frequent among those who are experiencing problems related to gambling, compared to the general population. In addition, attempts are also more common among persons experiencing problems related to gambling than among persons experiencing problems with any other types of addictions.
Gambling researchers say heavy financial losses are likely to be one of the most important causes of suicides among problem gamblers.
Problem gamblers often have substance-abuse problems and other mental-health issues, but debt has been identified as the factor most likely to push them over the edge.
Professionals recommend that you should do your fantasy spending on paper first, as you may find that you really don’t want all of the things on the list once the exuberance wears off or if you do not hit the jackpot.