Lottery Winners Lose Money

The Lottery Winners

Rags To Riches & Back To Rags

We’ve heard that you can learn something from anyone whether it be what to do, or what not to do.  On Sunday April 18, 2010 we saw an episode of Moving up on TLC.  This particular episode is called “The Lottery Winners” and it details how a couple won a $600,000.00 lottery.

Like most Americans are conditioned to do, they immediately had to spend it.  They could have saved it, they could have invested it so they wouldn’t have to work as much, but they decided they needed to buy a bigger, better house.  One of the great things about America is that you can do what you want, but if you are a reader of this blog we already know that you would probably do things differently.

Here is the description of the show from the TLC website:

It’s a case of money not making you happy as lottery winners Rick and Heather struggle to keep hold of their $600,000 winnings as their ambitious renovations spiral out of control.

Lottery Money All Spent

Do we know their private financial situation?  Absolutely not, but by hearing the regret in their voices, phrases like “we just should have stayed in our old house,” we can tell they are probably in just average condition.

We’ve been able to confirm that they are actually carrying a mortgage.  Had they understood passive income better then maybe they would have worked on it rather than buying the massive, dream McMansion; they could have stayed back in their old house, which was good enough until they hit the lottery, and not have to worry nearly as much about working, let alone carrying a mortgage.

Make Your Money Work For You

Instead they will now have to work harder!  How will they have to work harder?  A bigger house means: Higher electric bill, higher property tax bill, higher water bill (watering the monster yard), more furniture (for all those rooms they won’t use), more TVs, and so forth. 

What they have essentially done is taken $600,000.00 that could have been a huge asset to them, it could have provided them income, and they turned it into a huge liability.  Sure, the house is worth more than their last one, but all of the increased costs over the course of their lifetime will completely obliterate their financial outcome compared to them staying in their old house, or even if they had upgraded slightly.

Give Your Money A Direction

What this couple should have done was hire a financial advisor.  A financial advisor would have pulled their heads out of the clouds and said “$600,000.00 is a lot of money, don’t waste it!” The advisor would have come up with a sound financial plan rather than haphazardly purchase a mcmansion, install a pool, install an outdoor kitchen, and worry about your bills and retirement later.

Why is it that we can see these stories everyday, but still not understand what we should and shouldn’t do?  Right now we see Heather (the wife) crying because she misses their old house and she literally just said “I regret ever putting my initials onto the offer papers” (referring to their new home purchase).  Even Rick (the husband) is fighting back tears as he gives his old house a farewell.

Learn From These Mistakes

We see these examples everyday, yet we can’t seem to get it through our heads!  A bigger, better home generally means bigger, better problems.  Remember, put financial stability first, let the Joneses next door worry about getting the McMansion.

Like we stated earlier, we don’t know this families financial situation, and we probably never will.  This show very well could have exploited their story, stretched some facts, and blurred some lines to appear worse off or more dire than they actually are, but we can at least learn a lesson from the details whether they are true or not.

The house is beautiful, and there are no questions about that.  Many people would do things differently, including us, and we would put financial stability first.  We only hope the best for this family, and we hope the show skewed their story.

Link to the page for the description:
(Photo Credit)


  1. Heather says

    In response to your post all about me: After taxes, $600,000 is not alot of money. We actually do have a financial advisor. And like you said earlier in your assumed facts, you don’t know our whole situation. We’ve had a financial advisor BEFORE the lottery. We had a lot of equity in our old house. While, yes, we carry a mortgage, we can afford our home. The bills may be slightly bigger, electricity and taxes is really all that’s changed. We both have well-paying jobs. You are right, we had a choice to stay in our old home and live financial freedom, but that’s not what my husband wanted. I was happy in our old home, while our family was expanding and knew we would move eventually, I just wasn’t ready at that particular time. Money doesn’t make you happy. As long as we can afford to live, we are happy. This house is a beautiful home and it’s constantly filled with family and friends. If, God forbid, something happens, we can sell our home. We still have money invested. We also purchased a small business with our winnings. Reality TV doesn’t portray a full story in someone’s life or it wouldn’t make for great TV. We had a lot of fun filming this show. We made friends with the owner of our old home. And our house is furnished and finished thanks to very good discounts and free giveaways from the show for advertisement. As I appreciate your opinion, sometimes what makes one person happy, doesn’t work for everyone. If it turns out too much for us, we always can sell and find another dream home. Real estate, if you’re smart, is never a poor decision. Thanks for your input. Hope this sheds some light on so-called reality TV. It’s just a page of a very large book. :)

    • says

      Hi Heather!

      It’s really great to hear back from you and hear that you’re doing well. Thank you very much for clarifying some of the exaggerations that the show made about your financial picture. Often times we will watch reality TV shows and never really know the actual outcome of it. We’re delighted to hear that you are all happy, and doing well. We’re also very happy that the financial situation wasn’t as dire as it was painted.

      We agree with many of your statements including “money doesn’t make you happy.” When we make mention of hoarding money as an asset, it’s not because we endorse greed or want people to love money. “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” The reason we write about passive income, conservative investments, etc. is because we strive for financial independence in order to spend more time with family.

      At the end of the day, that’s really our only goal. You can do a lot more with an extra 40 hours a week with your family. In any event, you’re absolutely correct on all of your points. If the decision fits you and your family, and you are all very happy, then we say “Mission Accomplished.” Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and we only hope the best to you, your family, and your beautiful home! Regardless of what the show depicts, you have an excellent story to share with people, and a rare one at that. You’ve won the lottery, and you’ve been on a reality TV show. Those 2 experiences alone would fill a very interesting book! :)