SURVEY SAYS: Working After a Lottery Win

January 6, 2014 ( – Last week, I asked NewsDash readers if they would continue to work after they won millions in the lottery.

Ten percent of responding readers indicate they would continue to work full-time in their present job. Thirty percent say they would not work after a lottery win. Nearly four in ten (38.8%) report they would work, but not in their present field or only part-time. The rest (21.3%) say it depends on how much they won.

When asked what they would do with their lottery winnings, nearly nine in ten (86.3%) report they would save and invest the money. More than three-quarters (76.3%) would give to charities or religious organizations. Seventy percent would travel, and 61.3% each would pay off debts and help friends and relatives with financial issues.

Nearly one-third indicate they would invest in their children’s college and/or future, while more than one-quarter would buy a home and exactly one-quarter would buy a car. Ten percent say they would start their own business.

Responding readers aren’t big on big spending. Only 5% report they would buy extravagant gifts for friends or relatives if they won millions in the lottery. Only 2.5% would buy luxury item they want.

Nearly two in ten (18.8%) offered “other” choices, including:

  • Pay off my church’s mortgage;
  • Give to political causes I support;
  • Ability to afford health care in retirement;
  • Would love to have time for volunteer work, I would donate funds to needy individuals not to organizations;
  • Do God’s work full-time!;
  • Hire security (depending on how much I won);
  • Give some to each of my children;
  • I would share the wealth with my family and close friends. I would need someone to play with;
  • Pay a lot of taxes on the winnings and the subsequent investment earnings. I promise not to complain about it, the trade-off is worth it;
  • Provide trusts for grandchildren;
  • Renovate my current home, buy a second property, buy a house in NH for my dearest family member;
  • Open a home for se.xually abused children;
  • Set up college fund for grandchildren;
  • Don’t rightly know and likely won’t find out; and
  • Hire an attorney and financial adviser, in that order.


In verbatim comments, most elaborated on how they would spend their lottery winnings. I was impressed and encouraged by the number of folks who feel charitable and philanthropic. Some were very passionate about their decision not to work if they won—“If I won the lottery, not only would I not continue to work, but I wouldn’t even come back to collect my coffee cup! : )” Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “People think they know what they’d do with the money after they’ve won, but when it comes down to it, when you actually win, I’m assuming things might go quite differently. Even for myself! I’m assuming it changes your life in ways you can’t imagine before you win.”


For me to live a comfortable/comparable lifestyle from my age now through retirement I figure would take $4.5 million -- so I'd need at least that much after taxes to stop working.


Stability is probably one of the most important things for mental health - and coming into a large sum of money and a change in jobs/lifestyle at the same time could be detrimental to one's mental health. Saving/investing the money and giving to charities are good things to do without turning your world upside down.


My "no I would not continue to work" answer is only because I'm months from full retirement age. If I were younger I would continue working at something but not this place. I would only give to ministries/charities that I wanted to give to - would not respond to massive pleas from those I do not know or agree with.


I would work on an avocation instead of a vocation.


Always wanted to open a combo small bookstore/champagne and brandy bar with plenty of comfortable seating.


If I won enough to pay off my existing bills such as house and car I would retire!


I wouldn't work but I would fill my time volunteering at charities, my children's schools, and at church.


Even though I like my work, there is a lot more to life than working. Now at retirement age, I'd rather spend the time doing something else, especially exploring the big wide world!


I'm within 18 months of retiring, and would not mind going out earlier - the "millions" would be a sweet addition to the already adequate defined benefit that I will enjoy after 36 years of work.

Verbatim (cont.)

Would hope to finally have a work-life balance, meaning I wouldn't be in the same job I have today.


I would take a 2-3 year hiatus, after I'm bored with that, I'll take a part-time job in Benefits. No more PAYROLL!!!


Will work at something as long as it is still fun. Work includes donating time to specific charities that I like.


If I won more than $10 million dollars I probably would quit. It's so much fun to day dream about what I would do with all that money!


Hard to win when you don't play, which I don't play. I would rather save that money than take chance on winning. I don't understand spending hard earned cash on such a small percentage of winning. Just doesn't make sense to me.


I would definitely continue to work, but more likely either part time or a less stressful environment where as my salary wouldn't need to be what it is today. I want to set a good example for my children and having them see me work for a living to pay for the things we need in everyday life is important. It would also ensure that I feel a sense of accomplishment, being engaged, and being a productive member of society.


People think they know what they'd do with the money after they've won, but when it comes down to it, when you actually win, I'm assuming things might go quite differently. Even for myself! I'm assuming it changes your life in ways you can't imagine before you win.


Although I would like to set-up my own business for my husband and me, I would only work part-time so I could spend more time doing volunteer work.


I'm past normal retirement and a lottery win would make retirement possible.


I am too close to retirement now to keep working when I become financially independant.

Verbatim (cont.)

I would enjoy giving the money away. I've promised myself to keep $2 million if I win a large jackpot and give the remainder away. It would be a blast! I would start a foundation and would be one of those people standing outside a store handing out $100 bills.


Most people who like their job enough to continue if they won millions probably wouldn't play the lottery.


I live alone so work gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, but I would prefer doing it on a part-time basis.


at least the Affordable Care Act means I don't have to keep working to get insurance after I won my millions....


I have always worked to support my life rather than work being my life. If I no longer needed to work (taking questions of health insurance out of the equation) I would want to be able to continue in my job part-time (flex-time as well) so I would have more time to do the things I really enjoy outside of work: volunteering in my church and community.


If I won the lottery, not only would I not continue to work, but I wouldn't even come back to collect my coffee cup! : )


Hell, no on continuing to work


I will work on building a fulfilling life after retirement.


I really enjoy my work, yet if the Lottery was greater than $2 Million in cash, my loyalty to work would suffer,


I'm only three years from minimum retirement age (56 and 30 YOS) where I work. I would then have a reduced benefit, but, I would still retain my health insurance. Believe me, I need the health insurance. That, and since I work as a large retirement plan auditor, I like what I do and believe in what I do.

Verbatim (cont.)

If I won enough to not have to work, I wouldn't. However, I would find something to do and it would probably be volunteering somewhere for a cause I am passionate about.


My response might be different if I were not already planning to retire in a few years.


This year I'm going to hit the lottery with a new job AND a raise - (I know I am!) - and I'll definitely leave!


I love my job and what I do. If I had a windfall of money, I would look to set up my own business. It would be great to do something outside of the confines of a huge bureaucracy.


I would work but it would be volunteer work - Habitat for Humanity, reading programs, etc.


I would find something that would allow me to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.


Even if I won a ton of money, I would still have to do something with my time and be productive....but it sure wouldn't be the job I have now!


"Had" a friend that won millions. His world changed despite himself. Kept rather occupied dodging long-lost cousins and phantom charities. Eventually disconnected and moved away...I miss my "old" friend.


I would work long enough to call in and give a 5-second notice of termination.


your options didn't really capture my intentions - for instance, I think I would work fewer hours, and at a reduced salary at my current job - at least for a while. And the things I might do with the winnings are, of course, somewhat dependent on my financial situation at the time. I might well do all of the things listed, though with luck my kids will all be done with college, so perhaps it would go toward the education of my not-yet-born grandchildren. All that said, I would say that my notions of work, and working after "retirement" have changed over the years. Once upon a time I couldn't countenance not working - being fortunate enough to love what I do for most of my career (though not always the individuals I had to work for in doing it). Ultimately, I think I'd sort out the winnings (whatever Uncle Sam would leave), take care of some short-term desires, and some long-term needs, take a little time off - and then see what I felt like doing. Maybe I'd write that book I've been thinking about...


I would move south to get away from snow and cold and work or volunteer part time.



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.