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People who get it wrong
There are many stories about people who can’t learn how to be rich. In 1989, Val Johnson won £850,000 on the pools. Immediately, she went on a spending spree that lasted for four years and five marriages. She is now penniless and alone. “I’m not a happy person,” she says. “Winning money was the most awful thing that happened to me.”
Then there is the story of Alice Hopper, who says that her £950,000 win four years ago brought her (5)_______________. She walked out of the factory where she worked, and left a goodbye note for her husband on the kitchen table. She bought herself a villa in Spain, and two bars (one a birthday present for her eighteen-year-old son). After three months, her son was killed while driving home from the bar on the motorbike which his mother had also bought for him. She found the bars more and more difficult to run. She now sings in a local Karaoke bar to earn money for groceries. “I wish I was still working in the factory,” she says.
“It won’t change us!”
That’s what all winners say when they talk to reporters and television cameras as they accept the cheque and the kisses from a famous film star. And some winners, like Malcolm Price, really mean it. He refused to change his way of life when he won £2.5 million. The next Saturday night, he went to his local pub as usual, and as usual he didn’t buy his friends a drink. (6)_____________. He, too, is a lonely man now.
Imagine you are an average family and you have just won £1 million. At first (7)_____________. Just by picking up the phone you can get the toilet seat fixed, and the leak in the roof repaired – all the problems that have been making your life miserable. “But, it won't change us, darling,” you say to your wife. “Yes, it will!” she insists. “I want it to change us. It will make life better! It’ll be brilliant!”
Already the children are changing. Just this morning they were ordinary, contented kids. Now they are demanding computer games, CD players, motorbikes… “Hold on!” you shout. “Let me answer the door.”
It is your neighbour, with a bunch of flowers and a loving smile on her face. “Congratulations!” she shouts. “I was wondering if you could lend me…” You shut the door.
In the first week you receive two thousand letters advising you how to spend your money, either by investing it or giving it to good causes. Your son comes home with a music system that is bigger than the living room, your sixteen-year-old daughter books a holiday to Barbados with her boyfriend, and your wife buys a Rolls-Royce.
“But darling,” you say, “we haven’t received one penny of this money yet! What about the broken toilet seat? What about the leaking roof? What about me?”
“I haven’t forgotten you,” says your wife. “I’ve bought you a racehorse!”
The next day you get a begging letter from a man who won the lottery a year ago. He tells you how he spent £2,000,000 in three weeks. He says (8)______________, he could start his life all over again. You begin to think that winning a fortune brings more problems than it solves! You realize that you are quite fond of the broken toilet seat and the leaking roof after all.
A final thought!
When you next buy lottery ticket, or do the football pools, just stop for a minute and ask yourself why you’re doing it. Do you actually want to win? Or are you doing it for the excitement of thinking about winning?
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