The Mega Millions jackpot has grown to $1.35 billion, becoming the fifth-largest lottery prize in US history.
If a winner isn’t selected on Friday night, the jackpot will inch even closer to the record $2.04 billion Powerball prize won last November in California.
Whether it’s $1.35 billion or closer $2.04 billion, that’s still a life-changing amount of money. And a previous lottery winner has revealed that there are some things that do not change when you win millions of dollars.
According to Timothy Schultz, a podcast host and YouTuber from Iowa who won a $29m Powerball jackpot in 1999 and who recently spoke to Fox News, there is no denying that winning the lottery is “one of the most potentially life-altering things that can happen”.
“One minute you have one life,” and the next “your world is turned on its head,” he said.
However, according to Schultz, who uses his podcast to interview other lottery winners, while the “euphoria is real,” it eventually “subsides,” at which point he said you realise “money doesn’t change who you are as a person”.
“If you were unhappy before, you might be unhappy after,” he claimed. “There are some very wealthy people in the world who are extremely unhappy. Money can be positive, but it doesn’t necessarily fix all problems.”
Schultz, who acknowledged that the money can help with things like financial stress, then shared some of the downsides he experienced after winning the lottery, with the former gas station revealing that he has found it “much more difficult” to trust people after he won $29m.
“Most people were supportive and happy for me, but I did receive stacks of letters from people asking for money,” he revealed, adding that it was difficult for him to trust “new people” because he worried they wanted him for “the wrong reasons”.
He added: “It felt like some people viewed me as a walking, talking ATM machine.”
Schultz also acknowledged that there are things that even millions of dollars can’t fix, such as one’s health. “Money can’t fix everything,” he said. “Our health should not ever be taken for granted. Money can certainly help, but it can’t fix everything.”
As for what does change when one wins the lottery, the YouTuber said that, while every winner is different, he has recognised “common themes” when interviewing fellow lottery winners.
According to Schultz, one of the most common changes is the impact winning has on one’s personality, as he claimed that “winning the lottery can magnify personalities”.
“For example, if you are into the church, you may decide to build one,” he said. “If you’re into movies, you may decide to produce a film. If you enjoy fishing, that may become a full-time hobby.
“People often become larger versions of themselves.”
As for the advice he has for lottery winners, the podcaster told Fox News that it is important to remember to “still live within your means,” advice that is useful considering lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three to five years than the average American, according to CNBC.
The Powerball drawing was delayed on Monday night, after one of the 48 participating lotteries needed extra time to complete its security protocols.
Ticket holders were told to hold on to their tickets through Tuesday morning, when the winning numbers are expected to be announced.