Apparently NBC either doesn't want you to be rich or thinks you're too stupid to handle a few million dollars. Or maybe, they just want to lull you into a circular state of resignation and hope.
Matt Lauer introduced yet another saga this morning on the pitfalls of becoming a lottery winner. Turns out, a burgeoning bank account ain't what it's cracked up to be. There are many cautionary tales of what can happen to those who suddenly have more money than they ever thought possible. We see the ramifications of it every day, with teen singers and twenty-something athletes getting into all kinds of whacky predicaments.
Every once in a while, the media trots out some simpleton who won the big bucks and is now living with his dog in a VW bus parked under a bridge. The lesson her is not to foreswear the lottery, but to be happy that's it's not us that one. This satisfies two objectives: 1) To continue to pump up state gambling revenues; and 2) to keep scrutiny off of the lotteries themselves.
Very rarely, if ever, do we hear a tale of a nice couple, say, who maybe has kids who would like to go to college. And maybe there's a sick grandmother and a dream house. Maybe the family sets up a few trusts or a Family Limited Partnership and lives within the means of what the capital generates. The kids get to go to college, grandma is feeling better, thanks, and there's a nice, not-too-big home for everyone to enjoy.
Not a chance. That way, lottery players would be upset that they didn't get the chance to have a great life and maybe they would start to think that the odds are so wildly set against them, that it's not worth the anguish of playing and losing.
And we let this happen, of course. We want the winners all to be losers, so at the very least we can feel superior by proxy. After all, we don't have to prove that we can handle money if we don't have any.
So yeah, some people don't know how to handle money. But the theories are all the same if you have $10,000 or $10,000,000. It's just a matter of technique and temperament. Those who can't manage a large amount probably can't manage a small amount, either.
Next time you hear a fluff piece about how terrible it is to win a large sum of money, turn off the tube and pick up a copy of The Wall Street Journal.