WHEN YOU'RE GIVEN ENOUGH ROPE TO HANG YOURSELF, OR TO WRAP AROUND THE PACKAGE AND MAKE A NICE BOW
"Winning plays a game with your head," says msn.com, in their article about 8 people who won millions in the lottery and are now bankrupt, living on food stamps, living with relatives, millions of dollars in debt, alienated from family, betrayed by advisors, and proof of anything but the adage that "money buys happiness."
If winning millions messes with your head, let's take a look at this from the EQ standpoint.
According to Susan Bradley, certified financial planner and author of "Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall," winners get into trouble because they fail to address the emotional connection to the windfall.
"There are two sides to money," says Bradley. The interior side
is the psychology of money and the family relationship to money.
The exterior side is the tax codes, the money allocation, etc.
"The goal is to integrate the two. People who can't integrate
their interior relationship with money appropriately are more
likely to crash and burn."
This is about remaining level-headed -- like integrating the two hemispheres of the brain, integrating thought and emotion, ... only harder.
"Often they can keep the money and lose family and friends," says
Bradley, "or lose the money and keep the family and friends ...
or even lose the money and lose the family and friends."
The lives of these 8 lottery winners are rifled with divorces, betrayals, greed, incompetence, poor decisions, attempted murders, estrangements, uninformed investments, food stamps, and misery.
Bradley calls instant lottery winners "fragile and vulnerable," referring to their highly-charged emotional state.
When we experience a tsunami of emotions we are understandably "flooded", and this interferes with our ability to think clearly and make good decisions. What "fragile and vulnerable" means in relation to lottery winners is that they have to make decisions in all areas of their lives when their emotions are causing chaos and they have no experience to fall back on to know how to cope if they could think clearly in the first place.
In addition to coping with emotions, they have:
(1) no intellectual knowledge of how to manage large sums of money, including how to invest, how to save, what a payout of what amounts to $50,000 annually "feels like," or how much it costs to furnish and maintain a half-a-million-dollar home and 60'swimming pool.
(2) no experience or knowledge of how to deal with "flooding," i.e., when high emotional states effect our ability to reason;
(3) inablity to deal with the emotions and behavioral changes of relatives and friends around these issues; and
(4) reduced ability to interpret their "gut feelings" in regards to whom to trust as partners, investment advisors and money managers, and how to correctly assess the motivations and intentions of relatives and friends.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
-- Know someone whose spouse died and they made a disastrous remarriage choice not six months later?
-- Have you heard of someone whose wife left him and he made such poor business decisions he lost his professinal license and practice?
-- Did someone tell you about two people who made bad decisions regarding their children in the months following their divorce?
-- Did your friend who lost her child and was comforted by volunteer counselors decide she wanted to become one too, and find the program director wouldn't let her until at least a year had passed?
--Are you recently widowed and everyone's telling you to wait at least a year before you make a major decision?
-- Did your cousin's rich husband divorce her, giving her millions in the settlement, and she turned to a televangelist, hotline psychic healer, storefront minister, cult leader, unethical therapist, or uncredentialed "financial advisor" for advice on what to do with her money ... and lost it all?
Remember that the extremes are the same thing psychically, so a disorienting event can be something either very good or very bad.
Bradley recommends lottery winners start by setting up a DFZ or Decision Free Zone.
"Take time out from making any financial decisions," she says. "Do this right away. For some people, it's smart to do it before you even get your hands on the money.
"People who are not used to having money are fragile and vulnerable, and there are plenty of people out there who are willing to prey on that vulnerability -- even friends and family," she cautions.
Where can you turn at such a time? Well, that's the big question and ultimately you're on your own. Therefore it's good to have developed Your emotional intelligence, and to have learned what to expect from transitions and how to cope with them.
Take the Alpha Transitions course, read the Resilience ebook, or sign up for some EQ coaching now. Call 210-496-0678 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org . You might need it later on.