Regardless of the fantasies they may have about winning the lottery and immediately quitting their job, the majority of employees would continue trudging to work each day despite their newfound riches, research shows.
A new study by Gallup revealed that 68 percent of American employees would keep working even if they won $10 million in the lottery, which is up from 59 percent in 2004. Among those, 44 percent would choose to stay with their current employer, a jump from 36 percent a decade ago.
Specifically, older workers are much more likely than young employees to quit if they won a $10 million lottery prize. The research discovered that just 18 percent of millennials would stop working completely, compared with nearly half of workers over the age of 55.
Additionally, older workers who would keep working are much more likely to want to continue in their current position.
"The choice for the large majority of older workers who win the lottery would be to either maintain the same job or quit altogether, while the choice among younger workers would be much more focused on keeping the same job or taking a different job," Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, wrote.
Researchers believe the study shows most American employees find their job rewarding enough — either financially or in other ways — to compel them to continue working, even if they did hit it big in the lottery.
While it's not entirely clear why more employees today want to keep working, Newport said the recession could have played a role.
"It may be that workers today have a renewed appreciation for the value of having a job — even if they were to become independently wealthy," Newport wrote.
He said it's also possible $10 million isn't viewed the same way it was 15 years ago.
"Given that most big prizes are distributed over multiple years or are reduced if taken as a lump sum, and are heavily taxed, some workers may simply think they still would need to work in order to meet their financial goals, even after winning that amount," Newport wrote. "It's also possible that inflation has lessened the perceived value of $10 million."
The increase may also reflect an increase in workers' sense of the self-identity and nonfinancial rewards they gain from their employment, Newport added.
The study was based on surveys of more than 1,000 U.S. adults who are employed full- or part-time.