In my life, I've had two people in my circle (a family member and a friend of my husband) who won the lottery. And, I'm not talking about a few hundred dollars. One person won $10 million and the other person won $500 million -- clearly enough money on both accounts to change your entire life. And, you know how much I saw of those lottery winnings? Zero.
I never once thought that either of those people should gift me or my family some of that money. I never felt bitter. And, I never really cared what they did with the money aside from a general interest of how fun it was to see people change their lives. It was, after all, their money and had nothing to do with me or my immediate family.
It wasn't until the frenzy with the latest lottery was into the hundreds of millions (and now billions) that I realized many people do think they are entitled to a chunk of the winnings if a friend, family member or someone they know wins the biggest PowerBall jackpot in the history (currently at $1.3 billion -- yes BILLION -- as of the writing of this post).
A few days before the latest drawing, my husband posted an article on Facebook about the PowerBall payout and tagged me in it. An old co-worker of his then commented that we should remember how the lottery "ruined [our friend's] life" and how she still can't believe that the lottery winner didn't use the money to save the failing company they worked for at the time.
This made me realize that it was time to put out a reminder of what a friend or family member owes you if they win the lottery:
They owe you nothing.
A lottery winner doesn't owe it to you to loan or gift you money.
They don't owe it to a failing company to fix their financial issues and set them on a straight path.
A lottery winner doesn't owe a charity donations.
They don't owe it to you to fix your finances, your kids, your marriage, your job, your pets or anything else in your life (like that pesky toilet that always seems to be running).
A lottery winner doesn't owe it to you to fund your dreams or your harebrained idea for a business.
So, let this be a reminder: if someone you know happens to win the lottery, think twice before you ask for or expect money from them ... because they don't owe you anything. And, really, why should they?
(PS: In case you're wondering, winning the lottery didn't ruin our friend's life as the Facebook commenter indicated. It did change the way they did things, but it certainly didn't ruin lives.)