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For some, the money brings unwanted tragedy. Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr., a West Virginia businessman, won $314.9 million in the Powerball in 2002. At the time, it was the largest jackpot ever won by a single winning ticket. But Whittaker was robbed several times, was accused of bouncing checks at casinos and his granddaughter (seen here with him in December 2002) was found dead from a drug overdose.
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For others, the money slips through their fingers like water. Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice -- in 1985 and 1986 -- for a total of $5.4 million. But according to Bankrate.com, she lost it all and now lives in a trailer park. "Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language -- 'No,'" she said.
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Bankrate said such sad tales are all too common with lottery winners. "For many people, sudden money can cause disaster," said Susan Bradley, a certified financial planner in Palm Beach, Fla., and founder of the Sudden Money Institute, a resource center for new-money recipients and their advisers. "Money can cause as many problems as it solves."
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Bill Pomeroy, a certified financial planner in Baton Rouge, La., has dealt with a number of lottery winners who went broke. He told Bankrate that many winners make the mistake of thinking they know what they're doing. "They are willing to plunk down large sums on investments they know nothing about or go in with a partner who may not know how to run a business," he said.