By: Jessica Lanning, JD, CFP®

In the frenzy of a $2 billion Powerball prize, two phenomena came into sharp focus. First, dreams about big money are a good thing; and second, big money is humbling. Let me explain.

You Have Permission To Play the Lottery

Good grief. If you’re a grown adult, you don’t need permission from me or anyone else to play the lottery. You also have permission not to feel sheepish or shameful for doing so.  

People get into trouble when they rely on winning the lottery to meet financial goals (extraordinarily small chance of success) or become addicted to playing (which can kill financial goals).  

It’s a game. If it occurs in your life as a game, play!  

Big Money Means Big Dreams

The best part about my clients playing the lottery is that it makes them dream. We often forget to play, dream, envision, be creative or be silly. But some of our best insights happen there.

This is where we think about the following:

  • Where, lon what, and on who would we spend extra money
  • What are our values around spending extra money
  • Where we are putting off spending money in our lives
  • Where our priorities have gone awry 
  • What problems – both for ourselves and the world – would we go solve mn
  • What has heart and meaning for us as we spend money


These are important questions we need to ask ourselves regularly. Most of us have worked hard for our money. We want to see that hard-earned money does good in the world, whether for our families, ourselves, or important causes.  

Our lives change as we age, and our values will, too. For example, I watch many clients go from “we don’t want the kids to get the money until we die” to “we want to see our kids enjoy this money during our lifetimes.”  

There’s nothing wrong with changing our minds and living our lives by our values. That’s a beautiful thing.  


The Sad Reality of Big Money

Many of us quickly believe that big money will solve all our problems or give us the time to solve them. 

The big “problem” with big money is that money can only solve those problems that money can solve.  

Broken car? Not a problem. Money fixes that. Was a loved one killed in a broken car? Not so much.

This has been a year where I have been regularly reminded about what money won’t solve.

Money won’t fix broken hearts.

Money won’t buy love.

Money can’t bring anyone back from the dead.

Money can’t fix many health issues.

Money can’t repair someone’s memory loss.

Money can’t change people who don’t want to change.

Money can only do so much. In my practice, I often say that there are things in financial planning that are necessary – estate planning, investment planning, tax planning, etc. – but what’s important are the people, their desires, and their wants.  

So, have fun dreaming about what you’ll do with money. Write those juicy nuggets down. Then find your gratitude for what’s going exactly the way you want it without your spending a dime. May your warm fuzzies abound

Please reach out if you come into big money and need to figure out the necessary and important parts of getting it managed.



Jessica LanningAbout the Author:

Jessica Lanning JD, CFP® brings focus and perspective to your individual financial needs to identify your opportunities for investment and wealth. Regardless of what you’ve done before or what “mistakes” you think you’ve made, Jessica can help get you back on track quickly and safely. As a former practicing lawyer, she brings a comprehensive approach to legal, tax, and financial challenges so that her clients can enjoy peace of mind. A huge proponent of conscious decision-making, Jessica makes sure her clients are educated and informed so that they make sound decisions with clarity and confidence. 

Lanning Financial Inc. is a registered investment adviser. The information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.


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