Am I the only one who wouldn't have a lot of friends/family harassing me if I won the lottery?

I’ve seen this quite a bit online: concerns that if they were the one to win the billion dollar Powerball jackpot, that they’d have friends and family (not just strangers, friends and family specifically) harassing them for money.

I realize that not everyone’s family situation is ideal, to say the least, and not all friends are true blue when the chips are down, but I can’t imagine any of my friends or family calling me constantly and demanding/expecting cash just because I found a windfall.


Lemme just give you a little Life Pro Tip - unless you live in a Buddhist monastery or have a last name of Walton or something similar, you will have a lot of friends/family harassing you. That is assuming that the number of people you would consider friends/family to be “a lot.”

Unfortunately I think sometimes even people who seem perfectly reasonable can turn ugly once a lot of money is involved. Money can change people.
There are so many cases where family members turn on other family members when they’re fighting over inheritance money for example.

Unless your family is already wealthy themselves, I wouldn’t be surprised if it changed how they related to you. For example, they might not ASK you for money, but they might resent if you didn’t OFFER to pick up the dinner tab for everyone or offer to pay their mortgage or pay their student loans when you know they’re struggling.

While it is not as dramatic as winning the Powerball, I went from a blue collar upbringing to eventually working my way into a career that pays more than the average person makes (I’m a physician).
Once I started my first well paying job as a doc, I noticed that one of my long-term friends seemed to start testing the boundaries to see if I would buy him stuff after he knew that I was making more money. He never outright demanded anything from me, but he would bring up the idea in a way that made me feel like he was hoping I would offer to pay for stuff. I suspect a lot of people who started out in lower class or middle class surroundings have had similar experiences once they “moved on up” in life.

My own experience made me realize why “Mo money = mo problems” is not totally without basis. When you’re poor, you daydream about all the nice things that you could do if you had more money. It’s hard to picture the ways that more money can make your life more complicated and change your relationships until it actually happens to you.
I think a lot of times, wealthy people hang out with other wealthy people not necessarily because they’re snobs but because it’s just easier. When you’re around people who are your peers financially, you don’t have to question if the person is only hanging out with you because they want you to buy them stuff or that they will resent you if you don’t buy them stuff.

Oh yes you would. You would suddenly learn you have a lot more family members (and “friends” - including people that might have met you once in the 1990s) than you ever realized, in fact.

I have very few friends, so I hope that would mean I’d have less harassment, but I also plan on including them in my windfall in a more involving way by creating opportunities for us to work on projects together. My ultimate plan if I become wealthy is to start a production studio, so I’d employ my friends (generously?) to be part of that, and hopefully it would dissuade them from getting on my back begging for free money.

Then again, maybe I’d just sequester myself away from humanity.

I’d be dangerous to myself with a lot of money, in that I’d want to help everyone. Facebook friends, internet strangers with sob stories, whatever. Even people who never asked me or implied things to me directly. I know myself, I’m already loose with my money and have frankly given people I felt bad far more money that I should have (in that realistically I couldn’t afford that much either but felt bad turning them down). We’re not talking exorbitant sums, just $100-200, but still.

I seriously can’t imagine what I’d do with Powerball winnings, I’d probably just use it to fix up things I own that need it, keep a decent chunk like $100-150k locked away in a limited-withdrawal account as savings and just donate the rest to a random charity so I just don’t have to deal with it or think about it.

That is true. My family hit a different sort of lottery about 7 years ago and the money continues to flow in. It was hard to navigate those waters at first and we had to do a very expensive financial legal split with one side of our family while simultaneously maintaining good relations with them because our ideas and goals were very different. Now, I want to do another split with one brother because he is severely abusing family money and I just don’t like him. I already own a half share in “his” mansion along with my younger brother (our middle brother that lives there refuses to pay anything so our father deeded over to us to even things out) and it is likely that I will be forced to evict him in the near future and I will have absolutely no regrets about that.

I think we did a very good job setting expectations, getting dedicated legal counsel, setting up long-term trusts and hiring competent CPA’s but it has been a whole lot of work and it isn’t all fun and games. Don’t cry for me though. I still live off my own income for regular expenses but regular, expensive family trips and not having to worry about college expenses for my two kids are worth it. You can also make some dreams happen if they are within reason. My father just bought a top of the line Corvette is Z8 that track ready. He likes driving it a few miles a week on country roads. A Corvette was the only thing he ever wanted growing up that he didn’t get and now he has the best one but that is a one and done deal.

Those types of options are open to me as well. I live as simply as possible from my own means but having some serious backup surely takes the stress off and the perks are nice.

I would love it if my family hit me up for money if I had a windfall. The same family who wouldn’t acknowledge my wedding, who is polite to my wife but won’t accept us as “really married”… after 26 years together. I’d love to explain that all of our extra money will be going to the It Gets Better and Trevor projects, and helping us resettle in San Francisco and Key West; god that would be fun!

What Rigamarole says. A relative of mine came into a large amount of money suddenly - he didn’t win the lottery, but it was public knowledge. And not only he, but his family were subject to a fairly constant barrage from people they had met once or twice years before, all with their hand out. I was visiting shortly after it happened, and the phone rang five times in an hour, all from people offering to help him spend the money.

I didn’t win the lottery, worse luck, but if I had almost the first thing I would do is change my phone number and put up a sign saying “No Solicitors” on the front door. And get real used to saying “No thanks” without explanation to anyone who started suggesting I should give them money.

Don’t get me wrong - I would donate at least 10% of my winnings to good causes. But the rule is “them that asks shan’t get”. Nobody who solicits a donation gets it. No exceptions.


Not only can I imagine some of my friends and family being a pain, I would put money on some of yours turning out to be a pain to you. :slight_smile:

I can definitely see my sister in law harassing us for money all the time. “For the kids”. Which we would give them, some, but it would never end.

Ironically a lot of the family has always been richer than us and they have never given us anymore than bday or xmas money (which I appreciate). It would be an interesting turn of events.

No, OP, you are not the only one to misjudge your friends and family. :stuck_out_tongue:

It is going to change your life so people will know something is up, I personally would go for no publicity and tell the family I have had a small win and share some of my luck with the family and set up some trusts for the younger members of the family. My true friends we have already discussed this and picked the cars we would like, whoever wins buys the cars

I don’t see my wife and I’s immediate families (grandmother, moms, dads, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, 1st cousins) giving us any grief about it. I suspect they’d be cool about it, as I suspect my close friends would be as well. Well, except for one cousin, who’s a pretty serious drug addict, and one of her children is something of a knucklehead. I could see either of them showing up and expecting me to fund them. (which wouldn’t happen)

However, there are legions of 2nd cousins and 3rd cousins who might come out of the woodwork- I don’t know many of them, and none of them well.

Like others have said, I suspect i’d be at most risk for acquaintances from schooling and work showing up figuring they have nothing to lose by asking me for handouts- either directly, or due to all manner of sob stories.

I’d try and avoid it by creating a trust, and having the trust claim the prize. Then it would be more of a matter of trying to keep a loose lid on spending (i.e. no gilded Escalade or selling my pickup and getting a Bugatti Veyron, or moving to some kind of mansion)

Yes, I can see many ex-colleagues coming out of the woodwork and trying to be friends in the hope of a handout. They’d get short shrift. I have few close family and friends and all bar one of the latter are at least financially comfortable. My brother is well-off on his own account. Of the extended family, most of my generation and younger didn’t bother to come to my father’s memorial service. So short shrift there too.

My school-days were not enjoyable so they’d get short shrift too.

There’s one organisation to which I belong to which I would be positive in order to gain entrance for my nephew and niece.

Jeebus but I sound like a right curmudgeon. :slight_smile:

I don’t think people would be overtly harrassing me. I don’t even think they’d contact me directly, because everyone knows I am aloof and not really the chatty type. But I totally can imagine my parents being leaned on. They’d then lean on me, but they’d be nice about it.

I think what I’d end up doing is just giving my parents a big pot of money for them to manage. It would be the “family fund”. They can dole out the money as they see fit, and I’ll replenish the funds as I see fit. But I’m not to hear any sob stories directly.

Not even your second cousin three times removed who you have never even seen but knows how to do a quick genealogy search? “But I’m FAMILY!”

A week ago I’d have confidently said no one in my family would hassle me for money, but last Friday I caught up with one of my cousins and we were talking about the lottery, and I realised that (some of) my extended family may very well expect a windfall to be shared. I don’t see my cousins all that often, and there are many of them (14, plus all their many children)… I had never really thought about them in the context of what I’d do with my lotto riches. Now I’m thinking about it, some would be embarrassed to take money from me and others would expect me to share. It could be very messy and confusing.

My mom was the only one in her family for a long time who came to America, and everyone harassed her for a sponsorship. She eventually sponsored her sister, and there is still bitter resentment that she a) didn’t sponsor anyone else and b) took so long to sponsor her sister. And my mom is dead now.

My dad’s mom died and all of the brothers started immediately fighting over the (tiny) estate.

When it comes to money, I find all family bonds fly right out the window.

My wife is an attorney and among other things does estate planning. She doesn’t do probates, but is often tangentially involved when an estate “matures” and the will or trust documents start to matter.

Folks driving new Mercedes can and will fight to the death over dividing a $500 checking account between themselves.

There is an ancient proverb that holds: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And also warring relatives.”

Her experience is the proverb is very, very true.