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A sudden jackpot doesn't always solve your problems

When facing severe debt, it's common for individuals to daydream about a sudden windfall that saves the day. All you need to set things right is a bit of an inheritance or a small lotto win. Concentrating on the possibility of such a windfall -- which is an unlikely event -- often means individuals don't concentrate on the legal and financial actions that could make a true difference in the situation.

Even if you do receive the windfall you believe might solve all your problems, there's no guarantee that life will be better. In fact, the nation is full of stories about lottery winners who ended up worse off emotionally and even financially after winning.

One woman reportedly won $18 million in a lottery jackpot. Just eight years later, she had to file bankruptcy after facing a growing mound of debt. Another woman won $4.2 million and opted to take 20-year payments on the winnings. When she was later faced with over a $1 million in medical bills for a family member, the woman took a loan against her winnings. She later ended up without any money at all.

Other woe-begone lotto tales include individuals who didn't understand tax requirements and were later charged with tax fraud, individuals who were killed for their money and still others who turned to crime at some point after winning a great deal of money. As you can see, a sudden lump sum might seem to solve problems, but it could also simply cover up symptoms of a greater problem.

Working to solve issues through legal means, such as Chapter 13 bankruptcy, can help you right your financial ship and address underlying causes. While it might be difficult, bankruptcy is often a more likely answer to debt needs than a sudden windfall.

Source: Syracuse.com, "Powerball jackpot: 13 unlucky lottery winners who were 'cursed' by the money," Ben Axelson, Jan. 13, 2016

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