Winning the Lottery and Happiness

lotto winner

Can you really trust the person who said, ‘money can’t buy happiness’? Doesn’t winning a multi-million dollar lotto jackpot sound great? It seems like winning a sum of that magnitude would take a lot of weight off your shoulders and allow you some breathing room. However, studies have shown that lasting happiness and the lottery don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Lottery Psychology

When attempting to study the psychological reasons why people start and continue purchasing lottery tickets, some interesting information was collected. An article written by Kevin Loria for sciencealert.com elaborates by saying, “There’s some fascinating research on the psychology of lotteries. Studies have shown that people are compelled to buy tickets because we have a hard time processing just how unlikely a win is and we give ourselves reasons to think we could somehow win. Some research has also suggested that the desire to play the lotto may be stronger among people with lower incomes who hope to escape difficult financial circumstances.”

Longevity of Happiness

Studies have repeatedly shown that the old adage ‘money can’t buy happiness’ is actually true in most cases. The above mentioned article goes on to say, “But perhaps most interestingly, research indicates that winning the lotto doesn’t make people happier long-term. Contrary to popular myth, however, it doesn’t seem to make people more likely to go on spending sprees that leave them broken and unhappy, either.” Commonly, researchers found that lotto winners tend to be just as happy as they were before winning big money.

A Study on Happiness

To reinforce the notion about money and happiness, there was a study done in 1978. During this study, 22 lottery winners were compared to 22 people who had won no money (the control group). These two groups were also compared to a group of 29 people who had been paralyzed in various accidents.

Each group was asked to measure their overall happiness on a scale of 1-5- 1 meaning unhappy and 5 meaning really happy. Interestingly, the group of paraplegic or quadriplegic individuals rated their overall happiness to be a 2.96 out of 5. Researchers were surprised that this number went past the halfway point of 2.5. The control group- the people who hadn’t won any money recorded their overall happiness at 3.82 out of 5. Finally, the 22 individuals who had won the lottery rated their overall happiness at a 4 out of 5. Looking at this study, you can see that the difference in happiness between the control group and the group who had won was a measly .18. To sum things up, winning money didn’t make people as happy as you’d think. Also, experiencing a catastrophic accident didn’t make people as unhappy as one would expect.

While it may be difficult to believe, studies, research and interviews have all arrived at the same conclusion: money really can’t buy you happiness.