Just as there are stages of grief, so too are there stages of sudden wealth. There’s the initial euphoria, self-indulgent spending, a growing sense of responsibility, then anxiety and sometimes a yearning for simpler times.

Michael Cole, a wealth-management executive at Cresset Capital Management, has seen how the euphoria of sudden wealth can quickly devolve into mistrust as unsolicited investing advice and requests for handouts roll in.

“They no longer know if family and friends care about them because of who they are or because of their money,” he said.

Cole, the former president of U.S. Bancorp’s ultra-high-net worth arm, said quitting work and splurging are common missteps for the newly rich. “Buying planes, boats and houses gets old really fast,” he said. “At a certain point the thrill of it goes away.”

Blowing It

Lottery winners are the most dramatic example of those thrust into sudden wealth without the financial acumen to make sound investment decisions, said Cole, who has worked with jackpot winners. “They need to figure out how to align their money with a sense of purpose and passion,” or risk blowing it all, he said.

That could have easily happened to bartender and probation officer Jason Fry, and teenage construction worker Jay Vargas.

Fry was preparing to file for bankruptcy in 2008, when he and a co-worker won a $47 million jackpot. Fry’s first purchase was a block of tickets on the 50-yard line at the University of Florida’s last football game of the season, along with a limousine bus to ferry 25 friends to the stadium. Then he bought a Cadillac Escalade, a Shelby Mustang, a boat, a driving range and a house.

Fry, who now owns four Batteries Plus Bulbs franchises in Florida, said lottery officials didn’t connect him with a wealth manager, and at first he “didn’t know what to do.”

No one teaches you how to be mega-wealthy, yet everyone expects you to succeed and mocks you if you fail, said Vargas, then the youngest American Powerball winner at age 19.