By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Let’s all tip our caps to Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee, winner of the $758 million Powerball jackpot, although her haul after taxes on the lump sum $480 million payout will be closer to $336 million.

Still, something tells me she won’t be going hungry.

And kudos to Wanczyk for not giving us the old cliché about how even though she never has to work again, she won’t quit her job at the local hospital because she’d miss her co-workers. Maybe she *will* miss them, but Wanczyk said Thursday she quit within hours of getting the good news.

mavis1 Keller @ Large: Will Powerball Winner Be Happier?

Mavis Wanczyk. (Photo credit: Mass. Lottery)

Wanczyk admits to being a bit nervous about how this windfall might change her life. She said “I want to just be me and be alone and figure out what I want to do.”

But that won’t be as easy as it might sound.

History shows lottery winners often find unhappiness along with that pot of gold, family, friends, acquaintances and strangers with their hands out, difficulty knowing if new friends are interested in you or the money, and other stresses that can come with being super-rich. One study involving researchers from UMass found big-dollar winners were slightly less happy than people who had been badly injured in accidents.

But for me the key finding of that study was that “eventually, the thrill of winning the lottery will wear off” and then, while you’re certainly richer, you’re otherwise the same as you were before, for better or for worse.

I don’t know Ms. Wanczyk, and I bet we’ve seen the last of her on TV.

But I’d love to check back with her in a few years to find out if money really can buy happiness after all.

Share your take with me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.


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