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.
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