As virtually every trial lawyer and settlement professional is aware one of the biggest challenges that face any recipient of a large award is the mental and emotional aspects in how to manage it. We all have many anecdotal stories of our own about the client that wasted a huge sum of cash, the money hungry spouses, business partners, family and friends, as well as the persons own bad judgement that create these horrible situations where literally millions of dollars are dissipated.
A recent online article on ABC's web site goes into this situation, and features Susan Bradley, who many of you saw at the NSSTA convention or watched on our video blog here at the Settlement Channel. (Click here to see that video again)
However, as interesting and compelling as the stories and studies are about the impact of new found money and the issues that go along with it, is the ABSENCE of any discussion of the fact that virtually all of these people chose to take a lump sum instead of using a structured annuity of some type. As we know every lottery offers the option to people, as is offered in most personal injury or non-personal injury settlements, to take payments in periodic fashion, precisely to guard against these horror stories and the kind of wreckage we see when people who aren't prepared come into large sums of money.
The question is why have some many people, with all the evidence we can bring to the table, still insist on taking cash for what ever reason. I contend, as I have for years, that a combination of fear, misinformation, and most importantly lack of access to a settlement professional, create most of these horror stories, but that the good news is WE have a solution. It's just a matter of bringing more talent into our business and getting out of our insular world and sharing our experience in this specialized area with the people who need it the most.