In recent weeks, both the British National Lottery and the Euromillions prize draw have produced more millionaires as a result of players winning large jackpots. One lucky player in the British National Lottery for example won more than £6 million and a winner in the European prize draw received over £37 million. In other draws other players have won much higher amounts, indeed these two lotteries have between them already created several thousand millionaires. Other global lotteries have a similar track record.
Such examples create hope in many people, knowing that winning such a prize would change lives, but we have all heard of situations where suddenly receiving such large sums of money has created problems for the winners. So what should a lottery player do if he or she suddenly finds they have scooped the top prize?
1. Check The Ticket
This might sound obvious, but there have been recent examples of players thinking they have won huge amounts only to find their ticket was for the previous week or they had misread one number. The best way to do this is to check the website of the appropriate lottery administrator.
Many winners admit they have checked several sources before believing they had actually won.
2. Hold On To That Ticket
That small slip of paper is now worth money. Lottery administrators need to see the ticket so find a safe place to keep it. It does not need to be placed with the bank but somewhere secure and where you can find it easily.
Many winners simply keep it in their wallet or purse or in a hidden strong box at home. Others have found more unusual hiding places, such as in a Bible, freezer or in a clock.
The key is to be able to find it again. Imagine how you would feel if you lost a winning ticket!
Winners of smaller prizes should then take the ticket to the shop where they bought it but those with larger wins need to call the lottery administrator using the telephone number on the rear of the ticket. If you are a member of a syndicate the administrator of the syndicate will contact you.
Lottery administrator companies are generally experienced in dealing with big wins so will have a professional team ready to help you. Usually you will visit a regional office where experts will be ready to assist you.
3. Do You Make Your Win Public?
This is a key question. The largest win in the Euromillions prize draw was £161 million won by Colin and Chris Weir in July 2011. They chose to go public with their win but later had to spend some time in hiding to avoid the attention. Another winner earlier this year won £113 million and nobody knows who they were. My personal choice would be to stay quiet.
Winners in Israel and the Far East have started to wear masks to preserve their anonymity.
Again, a lottery administrator will advise you and will respect your decision.
4. Get Good Financial Advice
Handling a large amount of money actually takes some skill. The first step would be to open a specific bank account to receive the lottery funds electronically; one of the first experts you will see is a bank official. Wise lottery winners will also seek out a recommended and independent financial advisor who will look after the money for you and look after the day-to-day administration of your money so you feel under less pressure.
5. What To Do With The Money?
Of course everyone has a different idea of what they want to do but lottery administrators advise winners to immediately take a holiday. The purpose of this is to give you time to relax and get used to the idea of the change in your life. Having a break will help you relax and enable you to make rational decisions about the future. Not rushing into changes usually means lottery winners enjoy their good fortune better.
Another benefit of a holiday is that it enables any excitement about your win to die down. If their are any begging letters and calls you can employ someone to look after them and have your post redirected while you are away. The lottery administrators already have staff trained to do this.
Would you leave work? This is often the first decision people make and is often not as clear-cut as you would think.
A winner of the French Loto draw called simply ‘Alexandre’ did leave his job but then promptly bought the transport company for which he had worked and saved it from financial collapse.
A supermarket worker won a jackpot of more than Â£2 million in the British National Lottery three years ago. However Nicky Cusack decided she missed her colleagues and went back to stacking shelves.
6. Enjoy Yourself
Making a lottery win fun makes all the difference. Being stupid with the money won’t make you happy and there is a lot of good you can do with it but everyone is allowed to treat themselves a little.
Of course it depends on how much you win, but getting that dream car or house would be great if you had the money so why not? With that out of your system you can then think what to do with the balance but don’t forget investing your money responsibly or giving some to those who need it can be fun too.
There is extensive experienced and professional help now available to lottery winners so there is no reason why the experience should be at all stressful. Why not sit back and dream a little about what you would do if you won the lottery? Then buy your tickets and with luck you will be able to put this advice into action.