If you ever had a friend who was obsessed with The Four-Hour Work Week, you're probably very familiar the whole concept of "living a millionaire lifestyle," just without the being a millionaire part. You could live in parts of the world with an exponentially lower cost of living and have gourmet meals brought to you every single day for a fraction of the cost, and type away on a laptop while sitting poolside in some gorgeous building.
You can get this "living like a millionaire lifestyle" at "living like I'm in West Jersey" prices, just as long as you're not hung up on a particular location.
It seems like Tyler Heep has adopted this same manner of thinking when he recently discovered that he was a lottery winner.
Normally, when you think of someone hitting the lottery, you imagine they're suddenly millions of dollars richer.
Not Heep. He played the Iowa state lottery and fell a bit short of hitting the big jackpot. Instead he only walked away with a buck. While most people would curse their bad luck, collect their lonely dollar and move on, Heep didn't settle for that. Instead, he was hell-bent on making sure he felt like a $100 million winner.
Which is why Heep rejected receiving his dollar prize in the form of an ordinary check. He wanted to feel like a big winner, and big winners get large, oversized checks. One they get to pose with in a photo op, beaming a wide grin as they hold it up high for all the losers to stare in envy.
So he waltzed over to the lottery headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa to get the ginormous check of his dreams. The best part? They totally obliged and gave him the big winner treatment.
They even wrote, "Stinking Rich" on the ticket, which was officially signed by Larry Loss, the acting CEO of the Iowa state lottery.
Heep told NBC 13 news about his experience, "They decided to treat me just like a million dollar winner. The guy came down the stairs and they took me into the back room where the camera was with the Iowa Lottery logo."
In case you're wondering what Heep spent all his money on, he unfortunately did blow it all on in one place: the gas station. He put it towards a half a tank of gas.
While Heep might've gotten a big winner check, it pales in comparison to the biggest lotto jackpot of all time, which was split among three winning couples in 2016.
David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith, Lisa and John Robinson, and Marvin and Mae Acosta split a $1.586 billion Powerball, which came out to $533 million each, or a $327.8 million lump-sum payout.
Now those are the kinds of amounts you usually see on giant checks.
While Heep and these six people represent two sides of the lottery luck spectrum, one Romanian economist didn't need luck to win the lottery.
Stefan Mandel's monthly salary under Romania's Communist regime was a meager $88 a month, so he had to devise a way to get big bucks quickly. So he thought of the easiest way to get a ton of money in a short amount of time: winning the lottery. The problem is, winning the lottery is an entirely random occurrence... but not for a brilliant mathematician / philosopher like Mandel.
He went on to game lottery systems all over the world and, in ways The Hustle can explain better than I can, he basically created a "lotto syndicate" where he had people pool together their resources and guaranteed a profit. It was totally automated, tickets with various combinations would get printed, and he'd purchase tickets in bulk.
The jig was up after a while, but Mandel and his peeps had a good run while it lasted. They managed to win the lottery a whopping 14 times thanks to his diligence and coordinated efforts.
While everyone has dreams of hitting it big and imagine what they'd do with all that money once they got it, it's important to look at what happens to the majority of lottery winners after becoming for reals stinking rich: they end up miserable, for the most part.
Time magazine did a pretty great write-up on the phenomenon, but I think I can sum up why the majority of people who all of a sudden win a ton of cash go kind of crazy.
Barring any extreme circumstances, the most successful people are those who take personal responsibility for their actions and are driven to let nothing stand in the way of their dreams.
I think that once the excuse of, "I'm miserable because I'm poor" disappears, many people spiral out of control, because they have no one but themselves to blame for their unhappiness.
All right, rant over, back to lottery dreaming. What would you do with your winnings? I'd get a Ferrari Testarossa and a mink coat.