Single Mom Brought Home The Lottery Jackpot But Can Money Really Buy Happiness?

Published on 04/13/2021
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If a genie suddenly appeared and granted you a wish, what would you say? A lot of people will want the chance to bring home the lottery jackpot. They say that money can’t buy happiness, but it would at least get you a new car, a private jet, and a beautiful house. In 2015, Marie Holmes ended up winning the North Carolina Powerball lottery jackpot. As you can imagine, the poor single mother was thrilled to hear that she would bring home $188 million. A series of events led her drained both emotionally and emotionally, however. Some things are simply too good to be true, and this was one.

Single Mom Brought Home The Lottery Jackpot But Can Money Really Buy Happiness

Single Mom Brought Home The Lottery Jackpot But Can Money Really Buy Happiness

She Deserved To Bring Home The Jackpot

You can say that Marie Holmes deserved the lottery jackpot more than most people. Back then, she was a 26-year-old woman looking after four children on her own. She worked at both the local Walmart and McDonald’s, which was not easy to do. However, she knew that it was her responsibility to look after her kids. Before becoming a millionaire overnight, she would juggle the two jobs to provide for her children. One of them had cerebral palsy, which made it even more difficult for the family. There was a lot of pressure on the single mother who just wanted to give her kids the best she had to offer.

She Deserved To Bring Home The Jackpot

She Deserved To Bring Home The Jackpot

Her Wildest Wish Came True One Fateful Day

In February 2015, she heard that the North Carolina Powerball’s jackpot was sitting at $564 million. This is the reason she headed to the local gas station and shelled out a few dollars for a ticket. Once she returned to their trailer home, she found out that she won! “I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw the ticket and checked it,” she admitted. There were two other people with the winning tickets, so she only got a third of it. The winners have to fill out some papers to confirm that they won. After that, they have to play the waiting game before the money is dispersed. Lastly, the winners have to make the call whether to get it all in a lump sum or installments spread out over three decades.

Her Wildest Wish Came True One Fateful Day

Her Wildest Wish Came True One Fateful Day

The Choice Was Up To Her

A lottery winner must decide whether to bring home millions of dollars in one go or receive it in installments over thirty years. Marie Holmes tried to weigh the pros and cons of the options in front of her. There were many things to consider, and it is not as easy a choice as one might think. For one thing, the lump payment was worth a lot less. Experts believe that it is a good idea to get the whole lump sum and then invest it. Doing so would make a lot of profit over the course of thirty years and then exceed the amount of the other option. We do not typically hear much about the people who take their winnings in installments, as most people prefer to get it in a lump sum instead.

The Choice Was Up To Her

The Choice Was Up To Her

What She Had To Pay In Taxes

The lump-sum option would give Marie Holmes access to $127 million, which is $51 million lower than the alternative. A million bucks are already quite hard to imagine, so $127 million and $188 million do not look all that different. Holmes had no idea that this was not the last deduction she would see. Lottery winnings get taxed like income on both the state and federal levels. The State of North Carolina charges 5.8 percent of it, while the Federal Government receives at least 25 percent. There are times when they can take as much as 39.6 percent if the winnings fall under the highest tax bracket. It is possible that Holmes paid as much as $50 million to bring home her lottery winnings!

What She Had To Pay In Taxes

What She Had To Pay In Taxes

She Had Noble Plans For The Money

Do you already know what you will do if you ever win a million bucks? Some folks would do the commendable thing by donating to charity, helping their loved ones, and investing the money wisely. Holmes was a kind person who wanted to use the money on noble causes as well! She decided to give some of her money to her church, create college funds for the kids, and move out of the trailer and into a proper home. When she talked about this, she told NBC, “All the struggle that I ever went through, it was all for them. I want them to understand that money doesn’t change you, but it can help you.”

She Had Noble Plans For The Money

She Had Noble Plans For The Money

Not One Of Them Saw This Coming

Marie Holmes has been described as the sort of person who knew the value of a single dollar. Her family and friends can attest to this. She was, after all, a single mom who had two jobs to provide for the needs of her four kids. One of them even had cerebral palsy. While she could now spend her money on things she wanted, they thought that she would be wise with her winnings. The truth is that money can change every one of us. This was what happened to a woman who was once humble and modest.

Not One Of Them Saw This Coming

Not One Of Them Saw This Coming

Winners Should Be Very Careful

If you ever win the lottery, it would be a good idea to hire a financial counselor. After all, this is a lot of money to come into in the blink of an eye. You might think that this is too much money to blow all of it. However, experts say that this can disappear in no time at all if you are not careful. Marie Holmes wanted to spend her money on things that would improve her family’s quality of life. However, it was only natural to indulge in a little luxury here and there. Sadly, this was where her troubles began…

Winners Should Be Very Careful

Winners Should Be Very Careful

Using It To Bail Out Her Beau

Her unwise spending started when she purchased a $15,000 Rolex for LaMar McDow, her boyfriend. It might sound like a small amount compared to how much she was worth, but this was not the end of her spending on him. In 2014, he only had a hundred bucks to his name at the time of his arrest. He must have been glad that his girlfriend could always bail him out now that she was a millionaire. Later on, he denied claiming that she paid $21 million to get him out of jail. He explained, ‘’So many people are going on that she has paid $21 million to get me out of jail, but that ain’t true. It is just 10 percent”.

Using It To Bail Out Her Beau

Using It To Bail Out Her Beau

They Bought A Lovely New House

Before he was arrested in 2014, McDow lived with Marie Holmes and her four kids in the trailer. Upon his release, he moved into a home worth $350,000 that she bought with her lottery winnings. The Daily Mail also revealed how much money she received after going with the lump sum option. She ended up bringing home only $88 million after taxes! Can you believe that? This is a far cry from the $188 million that she won. At any rate, it must still have been a lot of money for someone used to having very little. Sadly, it did not take long before Holmes learned just how big of a difference a hundred million really is.

They Bought A Lovely New House

They Bought A Lovely New House

He Kept Asking For More And More Money

What came after that was not all that surprising. When word got out that Holmes won the jackpot, many people hit her up to ask for a handout or borrow money from her. She was now a millionaire, so a couple of thousand bucks did not sound like asking for much. A lot of people felt entitled to her money no matter their relationship with her. They came to her with decent intentions, but things eventually got too much for her. Holmes once told McDow, “When money comes, there are more problems.” She learned just how true this was because she got to live through this experience for herself.

He Kept Asking For More And More Money

He Kept Asking For More And More Money

They Were In The Wrong Neighborhood

After she won the jackpot, Marie Holmes, her family, and her boyfriend moved out of the trailer home. They ended up buying a house in a rich white neighborhood, where it was made clear that they did not fit in. It is terrible that racial prejudice still exists in this day and age. The neighbors harassed the couple in both subtle and overt ways. Here is what McDow shared with The Daily Mail: “One neighbor set up a camera to record everything we were doing. If I were driving down the road and going at the speed limit, they would wave at me for going too fast. They did not want us there. They were prejudiced.”

They Were In The Wrong Neighborhood

They Were In The Wrong Neighborhood

Giving Money To The Church

Ever since she was a kid, Marie Holmes considered the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church her sanctuary. She tried to live by the teachings of the church in her daily life. It was time for her to give back now that she could, so she pledged ten percent of her winnings as “tithe” or charity. If you ask us, things would have been better if she brought home the money anonymously or donated some of it to the charity without giving her name. She would not have been taken advantage of otherwise! In North Carolina, the law says that all the names of big lottery names must be published in the public record.

Giving Money To The Church

Giving Money To The Church

She Had A Good Heart

Marie Holmes has a good heart. After all, ten percent of $88 million is still a lot of money! Isn’t it incredible that someone like her would do such a noble thing? Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church was a pillar in her life. The press release said, “The first thing she promised was to tithe – or give a tenth of her winnings to charity.” Her family has been going to the church for the longest time, so she did not mind giving them $700,000 in the name of charity. It was used for much-needed repairs.

She Had A Good Heart

She Had A Good Heart

A Pastor With His Own Agenda

There was a pastor by the name of Kevin Mathews who got in touch with the Holmes family. He was not a part of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, nor did he know them before winning the lottery, but he said that “God led him to them.” The family believed in him and invited him to their house for services and advice. Pastor Mathews later felt so comfortable with them that he asked her for a million and a half dollars to create his own retreat. He claims that she agreed to this verbally, but they did not put the agreement in writing. Instead of waiting, the pastor set off to create the retreat using his own money.

A Pastor With His Own Agenda

A Pastor With His Own Agenda

He Went On To Sue Them

After some time, he came out and sued Marie Holmes for ten million bucks. No one knows how he came up with that number as the resort is only allegedly worth $1.5 million. A lot of people could tell that he was after her money. Perhaps he thought he could get away with this since she gave ten percent of her money to charity. Kevin Mathews did not have a strong case since they did not put any of it in writing. He later said, “Because of the emotional distress and mental stress they put me through, I had to start taking more medicine for anxiety and depression due to this situation.”

He Went On To Sue Them

He Went On To Sue Them

The Public Was Outraged

People were outraged on her behalf once they got wind of the story. It was unbelievable that a greedy pastor would go after such a kind woman! The public called Kevin Mathews out for the fraud that he was. On YouTube, some people even published videos about this. In any case, no sane lawyer would take on the case since there was no contract between Pastor Mathews and Marie Holmes in the first place. The pastor did not give his lawyer the name since the “motion hasn’t been completed.” He did not stop trying to extort money out of her, but he also worked hard to vilify her!

The Public Was Outraged

The Public Was Outraged

Her Boyfriend Was Cheating On Her

If you ask us, the next thing that came out was even more devastating than that. It eventually came to light that he boyfriend, who she bailed out of jail many times, had been cheating on her. Reports were saying that Marie Holmes was paying off her mistresses instead of breaking up with him. A video on Facebook went viral when an unnamed woman said that he was cheating on her and taking her money to avail of “sexual favors” from women. Yikes!

Her Boyfriend Was Cheating On Her

Her Boyfriend Was Cheating On Her

Time To Control Her Own Life

You have to be a brave person, rich or poor, to pick yourself up and start again when misfortune crops up. Marie Holmes, fortunately, mustered the strength to keep going despite all the bad news that befell her. The lottery winner was an inspiration as she tried to regain control of her own life. Things were getting out of control when she appeared on a talk show called Iyanla: Fix My Life. It runs on the Oprah Network and features a relationship expert by the name of Iyanla Vanzant. The host is also a life coach, motivational speaker, and author.

Time To Control Her Own Life

Time To Control Her Own Life

A Secret About The Ticket

Some lottery ticket buyers pick numbers that they consider lucky. It is not at all uncommon for these folks to use their wedding date or the birthday of their child in the hopes that this would forever change the course of their lives. When she appeared on the talk show, Marie Holmes revealed something shocking. It turns out that her mother had been the one to pick the numbers! She let Holmes go on thinking that these were random numbers. “I kept dreaming about your brother that we lost. On his birthday, he was the third child. He’d have been 25 that year. Those were the numbers,” her mother revealed. Holmes was in disbelief and asked why this was the first time that she has heard of this. Fontella, her mother, only said, ‘’I wanted her daughter and grandchildren to have a better life.’’

A Secret About The Ticket

A Secret About The Ticket

The Truth About Her Boyfriend

The members of his gang called LaMar McDow “Hot Sauce.” Marie Holmes bailed him out thrice in the past. McDow was her boyfriend even before she made it big, but he spent some time in jail for drug-related charges. After Holmes won the lottery, she bailed him out on bond worth three million bucks. Sadly, he took advantage of her generosity and soon started to use her money on other things. It had not even been a year when he got arrested again in July. Holmes must have truly loved him as she bailed him out for six million this time. Isn’t it sad that he kept cheating on her and doing the same thing again? Not only that, but he also used her money for various things. He did not learn from his mistakes and wound up in jail for the third time. Holmes had to pay a bond of twelve million dollars to get him out.

The Truth About Her Boyfriend

The Truth About Her Boyfriend

She Went Down With Him

It is clear to us that she would have to keep doing this as long as they stayed together. During his second arrest, the police caught him for violation of his curfew. Once the authorities stepped in, they also discovered marijuana in their home and charged Marie Holmes for its possession. The worst part of this is that it happened right in front of the kids. Marijuana use might have become common in the country, but the black community continues to be demonized for it. Did you know that they are thrice as likely to be arrested for possession of it? Recreational marijuana has only been legalized in ten or so states, while medical marijuana is legal in thirty states. It was their bad luck that any usage is illegal in North Carolina.

She Went Down With Him

She Went Down With Him

Not Happy With How He Was Portrayed

The newspapers bashed Marie Holmes for bailing him out of jail three times, and LaMar McDow was not happy about it. This was what he told the Daily Mail: “We are a couple, and I am the father of her youngest child. This is what people do for each other. She has the money, and she can do what she wants with it.” He went on, “If I had that money, then I would do the same for her. People are just jealous because of how much she won, and people want to see me locked in jail.”

Not Happy With How He Was Portrayed

Not Happy With How He Was Portrayed

So Many Accusations Left And Right

Two other things hit the headlines while they were taping the episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life. When her mom revealed how she came up with the lottery ticket numbers, folks started to say that Marie Holmes stole the winning ticket from Fontella. No one cared that the older woman said she gave it to the daughter of her own accord. On top of that, Holmes also learned that her beau was going to jail on a seven-year sentence for distribution and possession of heroin. You might say that she got lucky for winning the jackpot, but many bad things came with it. Isn’t it great that she stayed strong?

So Many Accusations Left And Right

So Many Accusations Left And Right

She Made Good On The Promise

Marie Holmes made sure to keep her integrity intact despite everything that has happened to her. For one thing, she made good on the promise to give away ten percent of her winnings. This was equal to a total of $9.7 million! The tithe partly created a charity called the Marie Holmes Foundation, which was patterned after her own life experience before winning the jackpot. Let us not forget that she had been a single mom working two low-wage jobs providing for her four kids. On top of regular bills, she also had to pay medical bills for her child with cerebral palsy. The charity provides for families and children in need. It often holds big events and hands out toys and school supplies.

She Made Good On The Promise

She Made Good On The Promise

Even Though She Is A Christian

We all know that she is a devout Catholic. It is odd that Marie Holmes even purchased a ticket as the church does not approve of gambling to some people. On the other hand, some people think that this is hypocritical. “You can’t be against the lottery, but your youth department is doing a RAFFLE! Same thing, pastor. SAME THING!” a pastor shared with The Christian Post, “You can’t be against the lottery, and you have a prize of $500 for whoever brings the most people on family and friends day.”

Even Though She Is A Christian

Even Though She Is A Christian

On The Other Hand

A different pastor with a different opinion was also cited in the Christian Post article. He cited certain passages in the bible that called money the root of all evil. “Now, having said that, let me tell you that the biblical principles that would dissuade a Christian from gambling are several. First, we must guard against our love of money.,” he said. “In Scripture, there are instances of casting lots but usually not for material gain. It rather emphasizes the sovereignty of God. For example, Proverbs 16:33 says, ‘’The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision from the Lord.”

On The Other Hand

On The Other Hand

If You Find Yourself In Her Shoes

Marie Holmes got to experience going from rags to riches in a brief period of time. Many good things came with it, although there were plenty of bad things as well. It might be a good idea to read this story before you make important financial decisions. If you ever win the lottery, you need to understand the processes and tax laws before making a call to receive your winnings. You have to ensure that you sign the ticket to prevent theft accusations. Do not forget to cash it in before the ticket expires! Lastly, you have every right in the world to spend your winnings on improving your life, but things can fly over your head like you would not believe. A financial advisor is a worthy investment if you do not want your money to disappear in the blink of an eye!

If You Find Yourself In Her Shoes

If You Find Yourself In Her Shoes

You Should Learn From Her Mistakes

There is a very slim chance that you will win the lottery twice. For this reason, it is essential to spend your money wisely so that you do not blow it all off. You might think that this is impossible, but that is not the case. On top of that, the government will take a huge chunk of it! If you had unpaid debts in the past, this would bring you down in no time at all. It would also be wise to expect friends, family members, and strangers to come your way. Try not to show off your money and rub it in their faces! As a matter of fact, take the anonymous path if it is at all possible.

You Should Learn From Her Mistakes

You Should Learn From Her Mistakes

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