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Here’s How Winning the Lottery Makes Your Life Miserable

“My life was hijacked by the lottery”

If you win the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot, youmay not be as lucky as you may think. Many winners befall the so-called curse of the lottery, with some squandering their fortunes and others meeting tragic ends.

“So many of them wind up unhappy or wind up broke. People have had terrible things happen,” said Don McNay, 56, a financial consultant to lottery winners and the author of Life Lessons from the Lottery. “People commit suicide. People run though their money. Easy comes, easy goes. They go through divorce or people die.”

“It’s just upheaval that they’re not ready for,” McNay told TIME on Tuesday. “It’s the curse of the lottery because it made their lives worse instead of improving them.”

About 70 percent of people who suddenly receive a windfall of cash will lose it within a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education. With a $1.5 billion at stake Wednesday, here are some of the stories of past-winners that gamblers should know about:

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