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So, you’ve won the lottery – what now?



Hold on tight! It can be hard work keeping your feet on the ground amidst the whirlwind of emotions that come with winning the lottery.

2 min read

In the second article in our windfall series, we look at what you should do if you win the lottery.

A lot of us dream about it but few of us will ever know the excitement of winning. It’s not hard to imagine the joy that accompanies the moment when your numbers come up, and the dawning realisation of the difference it could make to your life, the lives of your family, and even your friends.

That’s the fantasy. But few of us consider the practical challenges that sudden wealth can bring.

Camilla Stowell, Head of Wealth and Investment Management at Coutts says, “No matter how long you’ve spent figuring out how you’d spend it, the reality of dealing with a sudden fortune can quickly turn a fantastic stroke of good fortune into an onerous obligation. In our experience the challenges for lottery winners are very similar to those faced by our other clients, but there are a few particular steps we would urge winners to take.”

Slow it down

Before you make any decisions about your money, pause and let it all sink in.

Says Stowell, “It’s easy to get caught up in the exhilaration and exuberance immediately after the win, but that’s when you are most likely to make decisions you may later regret. A good first step is to treat yourself to a luxury break somewhere, and give yourself a bit of space for the rush to wear off. Coming to terms with the change in your circumstances and getting a good grasp on what you really want to do with the money are extremely important early on.”

Think carefully about going public

It’s up to you whether you stay anonymous or want to allow the lottery company to release your name.

Remaining anonymous would seem the natural choice, but the anxiety of keeping such a significant secret can outweigh the advantages of privacy for many winners. It can also add significantly to the ‘feel good’ factor of your win and is a quick and easy solution to the question of who you tell.

However, the notoriety may follow you for some time. If you want to buy a business for example, the association with a lottery winner may bring unwanted publicity. You could also find that you can’t buy a new home or give substantially to charity without attracting attention.

“We’re not just a bank but a partner who understands that, while wealth has great benefits, it can also bring practical challenges”
Camilla Stowell, Head of Wealth and Investment Management

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Understand how much you have

Today’s very large lottery jackpots can seem like an almost infinite amount of money, particularly for winners from a relatively humble background.

But what may seem like a fortune can quickly diminish after spending on property, cars and some of the long-dreamed of luxuries. Additionally, the urge to be generous is strong but needs to be moderated by an acknowledgement of how much you can actually give.

Get help

At Coutts, it’s our experience that even people who have spent their lives surrounded by wealth appreciate the guidance of wealth experts. This underlines the importance of getting good, impartial advice early on.

Things to consider include:

  • Ensuring your own long-term financial needs are met through a sound investment strategy
  • Thinking about how you can provide the best long-term benefits for your family
  • Charitable giving – not just what good causes you would like to support, but how to give efficiently and effectively

Stowell says, “We’re not just a bank but a partner who understands that, while wealth has great benefits, it can also bring practical challenges. Taking a realistic and informed approach early on can make sure that your one lucky moment translates into a lifetime of good fortune for yourself and your family.”

Coutts is ready to help you with all your wealth management needs. Speak to your private banker if you’re already a client or call Coutts 24 on 020 7957 2424 if you’ve just checked your numbers and got some good news.

Next month – what to do with your pension.

The value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up and you may not recover the amount of your original investment. The information provided in this article is based on our understanding of the laws and regulations as at the date of publication but it is not exhaustive and does not constitute legal or tax advice.

About Coutts Investments

With unstinting focus on client objectives and capital preservation, Coutts Investments provide high-touch investment expertise that centres on diversified solutions and a service-led approach to portfolio management. Our investment process is as disciplined as it is creative – ensuring tailored solutions with robust results.

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