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Most of Us Would Keep Working If We Suddenly Got Rich

The other day, my grade schooler asked me: "What would you do if you suddenly had a billion dollars?"

Hmm. For many of us, the answer would be a variation on a theme. We would quit our jobs, pay off our mortgage and other bills, take some nice trips, buy some nice things and donate a percentage to charity. Perhaps we would start a foundation in a loved one's name.

No matter what we decide to do, however, we would no longer be obligated to work another day in our lives, unless we wanted a cabinet-level position in the Trump administration.

But could the average employee really walk away from work for good if they won the lottery tomorrow? A new University of Florida business study finds most employees and entrepreneurs who come into a sudden windfall of cash can't deal with not working! It's like selling your company for mega bucks and then ending up as a skeptical investment shark on ABC's Shark Tank. Bring on your innovative Post-It note ideas!


Sure, the just-hit-the-jackpot types out there might take a bit of time off to travel -- maybe up to a year or so -- but then a sense of deep depression sets in as they realize they don't know who they are anymore. When people ask, "What do you do?" they struggle to respond. Their ego is diminished, and they feel like they're slowly losing status. They wonder if the other person thinks less of them for not working. Oh, wow. It's like being a stay-at-home parent stuck at your spouse's holiday party, only you're a billionaire!

Money Can't Keep Us Happy
Remember when you were growing up and everyone told you how money doesn't buy happiness, and you thought it was just a sappy saying aimed at people who don't have a billion dollars? Well, what is true is that money doesn't keep us happy! We may fall into riches but then...we get bored. Too much money, too much time on our little hands. Zzzzz. I guess? I wouldn't know. As the BBC reports:

You'd think striking it suddenly rich would be the ultimate ticket to freedom. Without money worries, the world would be your oyster. Perhaps you’d champion a worthy cause, or indulge a sporting passion, but work? Surely not. However, remaining gainfully employed after sudden wealth is more common than you'd think. After all, there are numerous high-profile billionaires who haven't called it quits despite possessing the luxury to retire, including some of the world's top chief executives, such as Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

So this, in the nutshell, is why the .001% can't pack up shop forever. They need to stay active, and get all up in our business. They can't help themselves!

Bottom line: Money doesn't buy happiness for very long, but maintaining a sense of purpose and feeling connected to other people can make the very rich feel like they're still vibrant, and useful. Besides, unlike the rest of us, they're too big to fail.

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