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Two-Thirds of US Workers Would Continue to Work After Winning the Lottery

Recently Gallup completed their survey on whether or not people would return to the work after winning $10 Million in the lottery.  The survey has been conducted several times since 1997 and each time it is conducted the results vary widely.


The survey, conducted of just over 1,000 US residents aged 18 or older working at least part-time, shows that 68% would continue to work after they won the lottery while the other 31% would call it quits (1% were unsure).  While all those surveyed would be more likely to stay in their current job than to switch, older Americans (age 55 and up) were much more likely to stay than to switch (40% stay versus 10% switch).  Younger Americans (age 28 to 34), on the other hand, had a higher percentage who said they would be willing to switch jobs (46% stay versus 36% switch).


The data comes on the heels of the financial crisis.  Previous Gallup polls asking the same question showed a higher percentage of people were likely to quit their job after winning the lottery.  This is partially due to the aging of the population, but also has greatly to do with the fact that people now are happy to have a job.  Even with the financial cushion of $10 Million, they would want to hang on to that job security (or it might have to do with the curse of the lottery winner).


What the poll does not get into is that when someone answers that they would change jobs, they could be referring to starting their own business.  For many people one of the biggest obstacles to branching out on their own is the fact that they do not have the resources to make it happen.  With a $10 Million windfall they would be able to provide their own startup capital, and keep working in an area that they love even if it does not pay as much as they would like.


More importantly than the data is what the data actually says about people and their feelings on the economy.  Winning $10 Million (after taxes) should be more than enough to allow anyone to quit working.  Even making just 1% interest would bring in $100,000 annually.  Since many people saw their investments drop by half during the great recession, some could be concerned that they would not have enough to live on if we were to go through another financial crisis.  Others may find that their work is their identity.  Without work, they do not know who they are and do not feel as though they are contributing.  Still others may feel that they would quickly become bored if they did not have a job to keep them entertained, even if they don’t need the paycheck.


How about you?  Would you continue to work after winning the lottery, or would you do your own thing?  Personally I would probably continue to freelance in order to keep my mind sharp, but unless I came up with a business that I could start, I would not want to continue to work.  But I also have a lot of hobbies that would take up my time, and I would never get bored.