Will winning the lottery make you happy? Three people who suddenly became rich tell how they feel a year later
In a ZDF report for the format "37 Grad", three winners of a large sum of money were accompanied by the camera for a year.
Ralf Schnoor and Leon Winterscheid won a prize on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. They invested the money in their own businesses. Educator Svenja won the lottery and afforded herself a house.
The documentary shows that a cash cushion does not protect against blows of fate such as illness and financial worries caused by crises.
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Does winning a lot of money make you happy?? And if so, for how long? In a ZDF report for the format "37 degrees" three winners were accompanied by the camera for a year.
Ralf Schnoor from Hanover won a million euros in the RTL quiz "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in 2010. Thanks to his friendly and mischievous manner, he also won the sympathy of many spectators. For the million-dollar question, he called his telephone joker, even though he knew the answer, and to the astonishment of host Gunther Jauch, simply chatted with him.
Despite the windfall, Schnoor continued to work as a confectioner afterwards. He invested the profits in his cafe and his wife’s store, and also bought an apartment. His life has hardly changed as a result of winning millions of dollars. So if he hadn’t needed the money at all? "There have also been moments in recent years that have not been entirely easy, and whether I would have survived them without these reserves in the background … I don’t know," says Schnoor.
Winning millions does not protect you from money worries
In the Corona pandemic, the restaurateur suddenly got into trouble. "The losses absolutely go to the substance," Schnoor says. "You must not feel burdened at all, because you always have to say to yourself: Man, you’re still doing well. But it’s still the case that you lie awake at night wondering: How do you pay for this, how do you pay for that??"
In the spring, the young educator Svenja was able to enjoy a lottery win of more than 333.000 euros to look forward to. Quitting her job for the money was never an option for her, even though the amount might be too small in the long run, given her age. "I would simply miss everyday life, especially the children, my work colleagues," she says. "Sitting at home every day, that would not be for me at all. I totally love going to work here." She wants to spend her money on a house and her dream car instead.
Leon Windscheid became a millionaire at the age of 26. Like Ralf Schnoor, the then-student was able to answer 15 questions correctly on Gunther Jauch in 2015. He then used his encounter with television and the new financial security to launch his own career. He has written two books, appears frequently on TV shows and produces a podcast together with comedian Atze Schroder. In it, he draws on his scientific expertise in psychology. "The fact that I can now dare to do this, that I can do this here, is basically the freedom that I think I’ve gained through this money," says Windscheid. Without winning millions he would never have dared to do that, he is sure.
The report captivates above all by the three very sympathetic winners
But even he is not free of worries. He owns a boat on which events are usually held. For this he employs 40 people. Due to the pandemic, his business also comes to a standstill, while costs continue to run high.
The ZDF report is particularly captivating because of the three very likeable winners. However, they are also very similar in their down-to-earth ways. No one starts a completely new life or does anything crazy with it, which makes the documentary seem a bit monotonous. However, the prize sums are also likely to set limits to such ideas. The protagonists invest the unexpected money in real estate or their own business. Their lives gain financial security above all. However, the documentary also shows that a cash cushion does not protect against strokes of fate such as illness and financial worries caused by crises. Money alone does not make you happy after all.
This article appeared on Business Insider back in March 2021. It has now been reviewed and updated.