The truth about the lottery winner's bounce back effect


But will she stay this happy? Lotto Max winner Maria Carreiro dances with joy at her $40 million jackpot prize ceremony.

A fascinating study just out tells us that lottery jackpot winners are not as happy in the first year of winning as later on.

This doesn’t sound very good news. But there’s a twist…

They then bounce back in a big way over the next two years – and often to a much higher level of happiness and contentment, say the researchers.

Why is the first year so tough for them? And will you have the same problem?

Well, not if you follow these instructions…

The study showed that most players were cautious and careful in their spending when they first won, but took time to adjust.

Dr. Andrew Oswald (right), Professor of Economics at Warwick University, a behavioral economist who made the study together with researcher Jonathan Gardner, said, “My own hunch is that they have to talk themselves into believing they deserved it.”

“It may also be that neighbors and relatives have to be dealt with in the first year, if only subconsciously, and that that is another reason the quest for immediate happiness is thwarted.”

So how can you feel you deserve the win? It’s made more difficult when everyone is asking you for a share of your win.

“Big jackpot winners say everyone they ever met comes out of the woodwork and asks for money, especially their family,” says Michael I. Norton, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School.

He’s the co-author of “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending,” and said that giving away money is one of the surest ways to increase your happiness.

But he doesn’t see much joy in a jackpot winner being hounded the rest of his life by people looking for charity.

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Michael Norton hands a volunteer their test money in a happiness test.

“The problem with a big lottery win,” says Dr. Norton, “is that it adds a group of people to your life that you don’t want to be in contact with.”

“And it disrupts the relationships with the people you do want to be in contact with.”

Dr. Oswald, the British researcher, says staying anonymous is a good long-term strategy.

“If I won the lottery, I would keep the fact to myself,” he says.

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