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November 6, 2013

Lucky in Lotto, Unlucky in Love


Guest Post by Howard Iken

Most people have heard the well-worn phrase, “Money can’t buy happiness,” but there are valid points on both sides of the argument. The truth is that money can either buy happiness or it can buy lots of problems. Money can be a big issue for couples especially. You and your partner need to navigate financial waters honestly and mindfully in order to enjoy the benefits that wealth can bring. Here are some case studies of lucky lottery winners who were unlucky in love to shed light on the many lessons to learn about money and happiness:

Honesty is the Best Policy
Only eleven days after winning $1.3 million dollars, Denise Rossi from California filed for divorce. She was obviously unhappy in her marriage, with much of the tension between the couple stemming from financial issues. She hid her winnings from her husband throughout the divorce proceedings, even though a sum like that would have eliminated most, if not all, of the money-related stress in their marriage. In any case, they could have paid for lots of good marriage counseling. Soon Ms. Rossi’s deception came to light, and the court determined that she had not complied with state asset disclosure laws. Mr. Rossi won 100% of the money and his ex-wife was left with nothing.

Moral of the story: Be honest with your spouse and use all available resources to work on your marriage.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Emotions
Ibi Roncaioli hit the jackpot with a $5 million dollar win. She didn’t keep the money a secret from her husband, but she did go on a drinking and gambling binge. She also gave a healthy portion of her winnings to her son, whom she had kept secret from her husband because her husband was not the father. After five years, Mrs. Roncaioli had squandered all of the lottery money, unbeknownst to her husband. Soon after Mr. Roncaioli discovered that the money was gone, his wife died mysteriously. The method: Death by poisoning. The poisoner: Her husband.

Moral of the Story: Emotions surrounding money between marital partners can be intense. Don’t underestimate the power of money and the rage it can cause.

If You’re Headed Downhill, a Lottery Win Won’t Help
William Hurt won 3.1 million dollars in the Michigan lottery. At the time, Mr. Hurt was supposedly happily married with children, but soon his life changed dramatically. Only two years after his big win, Mr. Hurt was broke, addicted to crack cocaine and divorced.

The moral in this story is a little lost, but it does illustrate the fragility of wealth if you don’t make good financial decisions. If your life and marriage are falling apart, a sack of money will do nothing to prevent your eventual fate.

A Lotto Win Can’t Buy Happiness, but You Can Still Live Together in Happiness
Luke Pittard of the UK was happily working at a McDonalds with his girlfriend, Emma Cox when he won approximately 1.7 million dollars. He was only twenty-five years old and decided to do what many young people would do: enjoy the money and spend it on his relationship with Emma. The two of them celebrated by purchasing a new home, getting married in a lavish ceremony, and going on a trip to the Canary Islands. They retired early to live happily ever after with their three-year-old daughter, Chloe. But soon they grew antsy to return to work and headed back to their old fast-food jobs. These days Mr. Pittard works as a staff trainer at McDonalds and comes home each day to his new home, wife and child. They live a happy life.

Moral of the Story: The luxurious lifestyle that money can bring might not bring you satisfaction. Be honest with yourself and your spouse to determine what you need to be happy with each other for life.

Many people dream about hitting it big in the lotto. Those with a bit more wisdom dream about the comforts that money can bring to their relationships. As you can see from the previous stories, money doesn’t guarantee a nice life. But with the right significant other, and a lucky lottery win, life can be pretty darn good!

Howard Iken is an attorney and family law mediator that practices divorce and custody law in Florida. After working though hundreds of situations Mr. Iken has learned that marriages are hard work, are worth saving, and that money rarely buys happiness.  More information on Howard Iken can be found on his website.

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