Published On: Mar 28 2012 09:23:53 AM CDTUpdated On: Mar 19 2014 10:26:29 AM CDT
Two winning tickets were sold for the $400 million Mega Millions jackpot Tuesday night, one in Florida and the other in Maryland. The jackpot is the sixth-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.
Take a look at some previous winners of huge lottery jackpots. For some, money does not bring happiness.
Three winning tickets were sold for the March 30, 2012, Mega Millions drawing that had a record $656 million pre-tax payout. The Kansas and Maryland winners chose to remain anonymous. The Maryland winners were three public school employees known only as the "Three Amigos."
Merle and Pat Butler, a retired couple from Illinois, had the third winning ticket.
For some, the money brings unwanted tragedy. Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr., a West Virginia businessman, won $314.9 million in the Powerball in 2002. At the time, it was the largest jackpot ever won by a single winning ticket. But Whittaker was robbed several times, was accused of bouncing checks at casinos and his granddaughter (seen here with him in December 2002) was found dead from a drug overdose.
For others, the money slips through their fingers like water. Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice -- in 1985 and 1986 -- for a total of $5.4 million. But according to Bankrate.com, she lost it all and now lives in a trailer park. "Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language -- 'No,'" she said.
Bankrate said such sad tales are all too common with lottery winners. "For many people, sudden money can cause disaster," said Susan Bradley, a certified financial planner in Palm Beach, Fla., and founder of the Sudden Money Institute, a resource center for new-money recipients and their advisers. "Money can cause as many problems as it solves."
Bill Pomeroy, a certified financial planner in Baton Rouge, La., has dealt with a number of lottery winners who went broke. He told Bankrate that many winners make the mistake of thinking they know what they're doing. "They are willing to plunk down large sums on investments they know nothing about or go in with a partner who may not know how to run a business," he said.
Bradley told Bankrate that she recommends lottery winners set up a "DFZ," or a "decision-free zone." "Take time out from making any financial decisions," she said. "Do this right away. For some people, it's smart to do it before you even get your hands on the money."
Bradley also said winners should consider investing before making a big commitment like buying an expensive home.