Last night, somebody became $636 million richer
, thanks to the multistate Mega Millions lottery. (Actually, two tickets were sold -- one in California, one in Georgia. And more than one person could have chipped in for the tickets. But let’s keep this simple, okay?)
The winners will split the jackpot, and can choose either a 30-year payout or a lump sum, which would amount to half each of an estimated $341 million.
Ask anyone on the casino floor at the Mirage (NYSE:WYNN) or the Venetian (NYSE:LVS), and they’ll all likely say the same thing: Win big, and never work again. It’s a fantasy that every lottery player has, and most people probably think it holds true across the population. But a recent Gallup poll says otherwise
, claiming two-thirds of American workers say they would continue working “even if they won $10 million in the lottery.” (Thirty-one percent say they’d be outta there.)
“This desire to keep working after enjoying a financial windfall is higher today than in three earlier Gallup measures, all prior to the 2008-2009 recession,” the company said after releasing the results of their Work & Education survey in August. “In each of the three previous times Gallup asked this lottery question, the percentage saying they would quit after winning $10 million ranged from 39% to 44%.”
Why do more people today say they’d continue working? Gallup says it is not clear what precipitated this change, but the company offers a few possibilities.
One: “The 2008 recession intervened between the 2005 and 2013 surveys, and it may be that workers today have a renewed appreciation for the value of having a job -- even if they were to become independently wealthy.”
Two: “It is also possible that the perceived value of winning $10 million may be less now than in past iterations of the survey as detailed facts about lottery winnings become better known. Given that most big prizes are distributed over multiple years or are reduced if taken as a lump sum, and are heavily taxed, some workers may simply think they still would need to work in order to meet their financial goals, even after winning that amount.”
Three: It's also possible that inflation has lessened the perceived value of $10 million.
Four: “Finally, the increase in workers' desire to keep on the job after winning a lottery may also reflect an increase in workers' sense of the self-identity and non-financial rewards they gain from their employment.”
A 1987 study
by H. Roy Kaplan, Ph.D., “Lottery Winners: The Myth and Reality,” provides a bit of nuance to this, finding that “individuals with psychologically and financially rewarding jobs continued working regardless of the amount they won, while people who worked in low-paying semi-skilled and unskilled jobs were far more likely to quit the labor force.”
A Swedish study
says that “lottery winners have often been found to be eager to preserve their previous identity and remain socially within the boundaries of what in their environment is considered ‘normal.’” To this end, only 12% of people surveyed said they’d quit their jobs outright, preferring to enjoy their newfound financial security by taking “unpaid full-time leave and [reducing] working hours.”
Of course, these surveys are all theoretical. If any of the respondents had actually come into hundreds of millions of dollars the night before, they wouldn’t be talking to researchers.
They’d be on the phone with their boss, quitting.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.