Lottery winners remain unchanged after windfall

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

LONDON - We often hear about lottery winners who have squandered all their prize money, incurred debts and become lonely and unhappy. However, the bulk of winners claim to carry on living normally, according to a German study.

“It’s common for people to say that ‘they are who they are’ as an explanation for why they do not change more,” says Anna Hedenus of Gothenburg, who studied lottery winners in her thesis, according to a University of Gothenburg statement.

In a survey of 420 Swedish lottery winners, Hedenus asked about their attitudes to work and leisure before and after the win, and about consumption and identity.

“Some people emphasise that two million Swedish kronor is not really that much money, and that it is not enough to cover for one’s living expenses for a longer period of time.”

“But at the same time there is a setting of priorities in that assertion. Most of them prefer to save the money as security for the future rather than dramatically changing their lives during a shorter period,” says Hedenus.

Results show that only a minority of the winners have used their prize money to devote less time to work. Regarding consumption, the winners are walking a tightrope.

They aim to fulfil the expectations of being active consumers. But want to be thrifty and worry about spending on the “wrong” things or about their money running out.

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