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Any This American Life Fans out there?
Old 03-29-2008, 04:15 PM   #1
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Any This American Life Fans out there?

I particularly enjoyed this recent piece on public radio's This American Life concerning millionaire lottery winners. It seems that once winning a million and realizing it only means $50K for 20 years, less after taxes, the winners don't feel like millionaires, so there was a business to separate them from the annuity for cash up front. Most lotteries currently offer a cash now alternative.

Act Two. Show Me the Annuity.
This American Life producer Alex Blumberg talks with Ed Ugel, who had a very unusual dream job: he bought jackpots from lottery winners. When you win the lottery, your prize is often paid out in yearly installments. And Ed would offer winners a lump sum in exchange for their yearly checks. He's talked with thousands of lottery winners, and the vast majority, he says, wish they'd never won. Ed is writing a book about his years in the "lump sum industry" called Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions. It comes out in September 2007.

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Old 03-29-2008, 04:51 PM   #2
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Love that show -- I listen whenever I can and I heard the one on lotteries.

A lot of what the lottery buyer did seemed a little... not nice, I guess. Getting people to trust him so they would take less of a lump sum, for example.

But on the other hand, if they really NEEDED the money and couldn't get the lump sum from the lottery itself, then I'm not sure it was unethical. The man who needed to pay for his son's attorney, for example, couldn't have got the money any other way.

I think the fact that so many take the lump sum now that lotteries are offering one indicates that he was doing some kind of service...

As far a winning the lottery and not being happy -- I can believe that. I'd just like a chance to PROVE it myself! ;-D
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