photoWhat would you do if you won the lottery? What do you think most people would say? If you answer go on the biggest spending binge of my life, you'd be wrong/

No, according to a survey conducted by Market Strategies International, most people say the first thing they'd do is pay off their debt.

In fact, paying off debt was the top choice of consumers, regardless of income level. Over one-third responded that it would be the first thing on their list should they be lucky enough to win the lottery.

Market Strategies, a global market research and consulting firm, conducted its new Consumer Financial Outlook study in September.

Mark Willard, senior vice president of Market Strategies' Financial Services Division, says the top answer seems to correlate with the shift to the more conservative "pay as you go, live within your means" financial approach his firm is seeing in other parts of our research results. Willard adds that "we believe this to be a long-term effect of the recent economic challenges and perhaps the most fundamental change in economic outlook since the Great Depression."

As the for next six choices in order of popularity seem to follow what you would expect lottery dreams to be made of:

  • 25 percent would buy a house
  • 15 percent would either (a) help family and friends, or (b) save or invest (tie)
  • 11 percent would buy a car
  • 10 percent would take a vacation
  • 6 percent would help others or donate to charity

Surprisingly, the age of the respondent has little effect on the choice. Willard said every respondent from age 30-70 chose to pay off debt first. Only Gen Xers, those age 21-29, put it second, behind buying a house. Of course, that seems logical in that they may not yet have been old enough to amass a lot of debt or have been able to purchase a home at their age.


Photo source: New York State Lottery