Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 22, 2013

Life is a great teacher about money and happiness

When the body of murdered Florida Lotto winner Abraham Shakespeare was found, his mother said that on many occasions Shakespeare said he wished he had torn up the winning ticket.

After lottery winner Jack Whitaker of Hurricane, W.Va., went through a litany of problems, including the drug overdose death of his granddaughter, his wife, now his ex-wife,  wished he had torn up his record-breaking Powerball ticket.

Seems like a lot of lottery winners want to tear up the ticket. 

Some don’t verbalize the thought. They just run through the money as fast as they can.

Having unlimited wealth is a dream for many people, many who consciously or subconsciously hate the idea of being rich.

What is going on?

A lot of misery comes from not having financial systems in place. The winners weren’t ready for their 15 minutes of fame and the hangers-on who would want a piece of them.

People don’t really know what to do with wealth. Some dream of showing off or sticking it to people they don’t like. While “take this job and shove it” probably feels good for a day, revenge won’t keep you happy over the long run.

Money equals security for most people. Or at least it should. One of the primary reasons that people become entrepreneurs is to keep big corporations from running their lives. They want to be responsible for their own financial destiny.

Since money is the ultimate security blanket, it seems senseless that people fritter it away. Yet, it has been said that 90 percent of people who get a lump sum do exactly that.

Some people get tired of pursuing money for money’s sake. I’ve long been fascinated by the story of Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity. Fuller was a millionaire at a very young age. His primary focus was getting rich. His wife was at the point of leaving him. He stepped back and took a look at himself and didn’t like what he saw. He and his wife sold everything and moved to a commune-like farm. From there, he redirected his passion and business skills and built an organization that made a profound and lasting impact on society.

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