Why Lotto Winners Won’t Give Up Work

Anna Williams
Posted

win lottery workImagine you just won the lottery. What’s your next move?

If your first thought is “turn in my resignation, and kick up my feet,” you might be surprised to find you’re actually in the minority of Americans.

According to a new Gallup poll, two-thirds of people say they would choose to keep working the 9-to-5—even after scoring a $10 million windfall.

And it seems like those lucky few who actually do become winners might be sticking to that. As CNBC reports, just one of the 16 winners of a recent New Jersey Powerball jackpot said he intended to quit his job right away.

But this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, Gallup reports that this is the highest percentage since the company first started posing the question in 1997, when only 59% of Americans said they’d continue the daily grind (and even less, 55%, said so in 2005).

Why Are We Now More Likely to Keep Working?

Like many things, it seems the recession might have something to do with the shift. This is the first time Gallup has conducted the poll since before the 2008 downturn, and they suggest that maybe job insecurity during those years now has us valuing our positions more than ever.

We could also just generally be finding more self-worth through our careers. More respondents actually said they would hold on to their current gig rather than swap it for anything else (like a part-time or lower-stress position) after winning big.

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Or, maybe Americans are just simply being realistic. As Gallup points out, it’s likely that, since 2005, more of us have been clued in to the reality of a lottery win. With big tax cuts and prize distributions spread out over time, you don’t actually quite walk away with that cool massive check you see passed out at press events.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean we’d all still be hardworking penny-pinchers once we won the jackpot—the poll, after all, didn’t say anything about fancy homes or shiny new cars …

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