By Nigel Boys
William “Bud” Post III didn’t have the luckiest of upbringings when he entered the world in 1940, because when he was only 8-years-old his mother died and his father sent him off to an orphanage.
After years of struggling through life doing odd jobs just to survive, including truck driving, painting pipelines and cooking food for refreshment stands in a circus, his luck eventually changed.
Still down on his luck at the age of 48, he managed to persuade his girlfriend come landlord to purchase tickets in the 1988 Pennsylvania lottery with the proceeds he had gotten from pawning a ring. He consequently shared in the second highest jackpot total in the state and ended up with $16.2 million which would be paid to him at the rate of $497,953.47 per year for the next 26 years.
Although Post believed that this was a blessing from God and a deliverance from his troubled past, his troubles were only just beginning.
In the first two weeks after he collected his initial payment, Bud had spent over $300,000 on gifts and investments such as a liquor license, lease for a restaurant in Florida for his older brother, a used-car lot and a twin-engine airplane. After three months, he had already spent the first payment and was now $500,000 in the red.
The next year, Post bought a mansion in Oil City, Pennsylvania for $395,000 which he planned to renovate. However, his brothers hired a hit man to try and kill him in the hope of claiming his inheritance. Luckily that failed.
His former girlfriend/landlord also sued him for breach of verbal contract because he had agreed to share any winnings he had in the lottery. She won the decision in the courts, awarding her one third of his winnings, which Bud refused to pay. His assets were then frozen by the courts until an agreement could be reached.
Post decided to try and recoup his wealth by selling off some of his possessions and auctioning off the remaining lottery payments. Although he survived for a while, he was soon again in debt and in trouble with the law.
In 1998, Post was arrested for refusing to serve a 6 to 24-month prison sentence given to him six years previously for firing a shotgun at a debt collector who came to his mansion for money.
When he died in 2006, Post had been living off food stamps and $450 per month and had incurred over $1 million in debt.
Financial Juneteenth lessons from this story:
1) Money tends to make you more of who you already are. Typically, lottery winners go broke because they behave with wealth in the same ways they did when they were broke. The same mindset it takes to spend all of your money on lottery tickets is the thinking that gives a person the ability to blow through millions of dollars. If you find yourself coming into a large amount of money and realize you have bad financial habits, try freezing or locking up your money with someone you trust or in an illiquid asset that you can’t convert into cash very easily.
2) As we often discuss in Financial Lovemaking, money can bring a slew of problems with family and friends. This man’s financial situation only served to make him a meal ticket for those he cared about, including his girlfriend and brother. When things went wrong in those relationships, his brother tried to kill him and his girlfriend took him to court. So be careful about who you give to, since they may often form an unhealthy expectation.