How Mom of Four Who Won $188M in Powerball Plans to Spend the Money

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Photo by WECT

Moms of the world, rejoice: One of our own has hit the jackpot. Mother of four Marie Holmes has come forward to say that she won $188 million with her Powerball ticket in the $564 million lottery drawing on Wednesday.

“I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw the ticket and checked it,” the 26-year-old from Shallotte, North Carolina, told WECT the next day, showing a reporter her golden ticket (though Holmes hasn’t officially been verified as a winner yet). She added that her reaction gave her son and three girls a real fright. “I was telling my kids that we don’t have to struggle any more, and I was yelling when I did it, so they ran and said I’d scared them.” 

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The shock is obviously a welcome one, though, especially because Holmes is currently unemployed after having had to quit her jobs at Wal-Mart and McDonald’s to care for her children, one of whom has cerebral palsy. “I’ve been struggling since I had them,” she said. “But I wouldn’t trade [anything] because they’re a blessing. I’m just thankful that I can actually do for them without anybody’s help. I don’t have to worry about struggling anymore.” 

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Photo by WECT

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Holmes can choose to take her $188 million as an annuity paid over 30 years, according to the North Carolina Lottery’s Twitter page, or as a $127 million lump sum payment before federal and state taxes are withheld. The other two tickets were bought in Puerto Rico and in Texas. Either way, Holmes and her children are set for life. 

“This is all for them, everything is all for them, all the struggle that I ever went through is all for them,” she said. “They can go to college, all on me and they don’t have to worry about anything…I’m thankful I can bless my kids with something that I didn’t have.” 

But before Holmes starts spending on the house that she wants to buy her brood or open funds for their education and savings she says she plans to pay her tithe — by definition a tenth of one’s income — to her church. “First I’m going to pay my tithe because I wouldn’t have none of it if it wasn’t for God,” she said.   

Giving back is an important lesson for kids of every age to learn, says Kids, Wealth, and Consequences author, Jayne Pearl. But you don’t have to win the lottery to give children the opportunity to practice becoming charitable. The expert shares her top three tips: 

Show kids how money can make a difference. 
Has there been a crisis in the news or a tragedy that seems to worry or upset your child? Sit down with him or her and explain how it’s easy to feel despondent about problems we can’t effect, “but these things happen in life and one thing we can do is donate money to help people and help them fix problems,” says Pearl. “Transforming that upset into action is a powerful way to make kids feel empowered instead of upset or hopeless.” 

Then, let them select where your family gives. 
Set aside all those donation solicitations into a special folder that you review, with your kids, two or three times a year. “Take them out and say, ‘Here are the categories we might consider donating to,’” says the expert, who divvies her mailings into domestic, international, disease, poverty, and so on. “’What categories do you think are the most important for us to donate to?’” Let them make some choices and invite them to include a portion of their allowance. “That lets them have some skin in the game,” she says. “So they feel like they’re really doing something.” 

Just don’t make it all about cash.
“There are so many important ways to show that you value helping other people, and get children to understand that there are ways to help, whatever socio-economic category you are in,” says Pearl. “Show kids how charity is not all money but sweat equity too.” Try encouraging kids to volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit an old-age home, participate in a Habitat for Humanity project. “The important thing is to become aware of how you can help people in need,” she says.   

Note that requiring children to save to give to charity isn’t part of Pearl’s playbook. “I don’t believe in forcing kids to do that because in the longterm it’s not inspiring them to do it on their own,” she says. “That can even invite kids not to save or give in rebellion against parents’ rules.” What you want is to really instill the value of charity into children. “Parents need to show their children that charity is important to them,” she says. “That example, more than anything else, is what will be most likely to get your kids to give in the future too.”

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