24 People Who Unexpectedly Received A Large Sum Of Money Are Revealing How It Changed Their Lives, And Some Stories Are Complete Surprises

Reddit user u/willow-mist asked the community, "People who won/inherited/earned a large amount of money in a short amount of time, what was the biggest change?" Here are the changes people experienced when they came into large sums of money unexpectedly:

1."You know how you can list things 'highest price to lowest while online shopping or browsing real estate listings?' I thought that was hilarious and that nobody would ever use it. It turns out that it's useful when money is no object, and you prefer not to look at the lower-end options."


2."Fixing things is no longer about the cheapest way to do it yourself, but about weighing a good DYI solution vs. just writing a check and being done with it. Say a tree needs to be cut down. Without money, you think about what you can use or borrow. Renting is a last resort, but viable. With money, you may decide owning a chainsaw could be useful, so perhaps you buy one. Beyond that, I ask myself, 'Do I really want to do this thing myself, or should I just find someone to do it for $500?' As a specific answer, I now pay someone to cut my grass."


A lawn mower cutting a well-maintained grassy lawn with a visible path of freshly cut grass
Stoncelli / Getty Images

3."I stopped caring about keeping my job since I now have a safety net from stocks. I can now push back on unreasonable requests, and I'm a lot more confident about asking for raises because I know I can comfortably quit any time."


4."I started eating better. No more buying the cheapest version of everything. I also bought a very nice bed."


Person holding a shopping basket and a notepad, standing by a market section filled with various fruits and vegetables
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5."I made a mistake and told my former closest friends. They are turned on me out of jealousy, I'm assuming. It sucks. So, I'm more humble with my money when building friendships."


6."I don't even have to think about taking my pets to the vet. I used to put it off, hoping they would get well by themselves if we just waited it out. Now it's, 'Hey buddy, you're acting a bit sick. Let's get you checked out.' Need medicine? No problem, and no splitting dosages either."


A white Samoyed dog is on an examination table, being held by a woman in a leather jacket. A veterinarian in a white coat is working on a computer in the background
Azmanjaka / Getty Images

7."I inherited $200k when my grandmother passed a few years ago. It was enough to get me out of the poverty cycle but not enough to buy a house or live off of for a substantial amount of time. I set aside most of it but gave myself the luxury of a decent chunk of spending money. You may think I bought a bunch of silly things with that money, and I did. But I mostly used it to get good quality things that will make life easier and last a while. I got a chest freezer, a nice dresser and side tables, a decent fridge, and clothes that fit me and look good. I also had the privilege of helping my community so much. Being able to drop a couple hundred to buy a friend's hearing aids or get someone's not-cheap prescription is amazing. I've been fortunate; my community hasn't taken advantage of it. They're aware I will always help, but they use it as a last resort safety net."

"I have half of it left three years later. Without the constant stress of affording everything, I figured out what I wanted to do with my life, and now that money will support me as I study for the next few years."


8."Ironically, it made me want to save more. For the first time in my life, I had savings, and I wanted to grow it and start thinking about retirement."


A person in a light shirt holds a small pink piggy bank with a smiling face. The image is related to financial savings and money management
Dilok Klaisataporn / Getty Images

9."Stress levels before and after — it's like night and day. Being poor is stressful. Very stressful. Having money means having options, which coincidentally means less worrying about making things work and more focus on figuring them out, leading to more success. You simultaneously have more options while ending up needing a plan B less. It's almost cruel. Money doesn't bring happiness, but it kills 90% of real-life day-to-day stress, paving the way for positive change."


10."I took all the money and immediately paid off a large chunk of my mortgage. The only change is that I can pay off my house before I die."


Single-story house with a charming porch and well-maintained garden in front. The house features a wooden door, stone accents, and flower beds along the walkway
Douglas Keister / Getty Images

11."People turn up out of the woodwork when they hear you have a lot of money. When I signed a massive deal at the company I owed (and I assume my mom told a bunch of people), suddenly, friends and family I hadn't heard from in years wanted to spend time together. Same when my mom passed away. In both cases, I wanted to think it was for altruistic reasons, but the timing was just too convenient. The interaction between my existing friend group, who also knew about these events, did not change."


12."Our plans for the next 10+ years accelerated and happened within two. We bought a lovely house and are now getting married at the end of this year. We still have a decent amount left over, which we are saving for if we need it and to get a dog after our wedding."


A golden retriever lies down on a carpeted surface with a relaxed expression
Jacques Julien / Getty Images

13."We inherited a substantial amount of money recently. We knew an inheritance was coming, but it was easily three times what we thought it would be. My day-to-day life didn't change. I still work the same job, and so does my husband. Everything is the same except for the relief we have when thinking about the future, which is huge. We took half the money and put it in an account for our kids. Their college, grad school, etc., are completely paid for. We then took the other half and hired an advisor we know well to invest it for our retirement. We plan to park it until we both stop working, which is still decades away. We also cut big checks to our beloved niece (for school in the future) and two charities close to our hearts. The thought that our future is secure is breathtakingly amazing."


14."I won $40,000 on a scratch ticket, so I quit my job and took a year off. It was not the best financial decision, but it was great for my sanity."


A close-up of a person's hand using a coin to scratch a lottery ticket
Tetra Images / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

15."I inherited about half a million dollars from my dad, plus some real estate. After I bought a house and a car, I was still left with quite a bit, but I was in a terrible place (my dad's death was very sudden and affected me very badly), so I was wasting money left and right on vacations, random stuff, and fancy dinners. Most of it wasn't leftover, so my life was more or less the same. The only difference was that my family now owned a house and had a couple of nice cars."


16."I was able to quit my job and essentially retire in my mid-30s. There was such a great feeling of freedom in not having to be wedded to going to a 9 to 5 job and giving up so much of my time for a paycheck while also owning my house and car outright and being able to travel the world (in great luxury) on a whim."


A hand is holding a champagne glass up to an airplane window, with the sky visible outside
Jaromir / Getty Images

17."It changes how everyone you know treats you. Some people will get mega-entitled and assume money has no value to you anymore. Some people will get jealous, and many will suddenly want to be your best friend. You will be surprised by how people react."


18."I really stopped caring about what other people thought. I think it made me more secure with my decisions because I knew I was financially stable enough to do what I needed to do for my future. I don't need anybody else's second opinion."


A woman with long hair relaxes in a hammock on a wooden pier, overlooking a serene ocean at sunset
Oleg Breslavtsev / Getty Images

19."I inherited about $20,000 from a deceased relative unexpectedly, and nothing much changed for me except my peace of mind. It wasn't life-changing money, and in fact, I didn't spend a dime of it, but it made a nice seed for investment, and that investment has done reasonably well, so I have a nice nest egg that is slowly growing. The big thing is that I'm disabled and on a fixed income, so it's so nice to know that if some unexpected expense comes along, it's not going to wipe me out or put me in debt over my head that I'll never escape."


20."My course of life is different. Before it happened, I was depressed because I had no direction in life, no clue what I wanted to do, and nothing to motivate me. When I was 24, my dad passed. He was divorced and had only one child, so he left everything to me. Suddenly, I was bestowed hundreds of thousands of dollars, a house, several vehicles and collectibles, and a ton of stress. After selling most of his things, I realized I wanted to be a real estate investor. I already owned a house, but I used a good chunk of the money to buy my current home outright, renovate it, and add an accessory dwelling unit. I also purchased a second rental property. I made some dumb mistakes, too, like purchasing cars and horses I didn't need when I should have invested that money. Then, tax time came, and I was hit with a bill I couldn't afford, so I had to sell most of the dumb things I bought. It was humbling, to say the least."


A large pile of U.S. hundred-dollar bills scattered in a random manner
Kativ / Getty Images

21."The people who always found me annoying tried to befriend me again. They would come to my house uninvited because they thought I needed support since I had suddenly lost a family. They would continue pointing out how lucky I was and call to ask me for financial support. Almost all the sweetness people showered me with was eventually followed by, 'Lend us some money.' People would forget that there's a thing called splitting the bill, and they would assume that I didn't mind throwing around free dinners."

"My parents have blessed me well, but the fear of losing it all to lavish things haunts me sometimes. Sometimes, I feel guilty if I spend some money on a luxury. I don't take this for granted. Also, not having loans is an amazing thing. I am more generous towards people who need money, especially for education, food for people experiencing homelessness, etc. Random acts of generosity remind me of how powerful time is. Things can go from cloud 9 to zero in a moment."


22."I'm a lot more confident and calm in situations because I guess I'm always subconsciously aware that I have money. For example, if someone insults me, it doesn't really affect me because I feel like I have an ace up my sleeve that they don't have."


Two women, one in a yellow top and the other in a gray sweater, smiling and shaking hands in an office setting with a laptop on the table
Laylabird / Getty Images

23."Dealing with the 'paradox of choice' or 'choice overload' has been a bigger challenge than I could have ever imagined."


24.And: "I am just a few months into this, and I went from extreme poverty to a million so far (and more on the way). We have kept it quiet so far but bought a home and a slightly used car, and we will move in tomorrow. The first thing I did was toss out the chipped coffee mugs. Then, I signed up for autopay and subscribe-and-save deliveries. We were going to remodel our current house, which is in need of much repair, but decided to buy a different one instead. I couldn't get contractors to return my call or show any interest in working here, but boy, did we get the red carpet treatment on new home purchases."


Have you ever unexpectedly received a large sum of money all at once (lottery win, inheritance, etc.)? How did it impact your life? Tell us in the comments or submit anonymously using this form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.