$23m Lotto win: Advice from former big winners on what to do with your loot

Winning Lotto and becoming an instant multi-millionaire is not always easy – but it ain’t half bad either.
Video / Mike Scott

A lucky Lotto ticket holder who scooped $23 million in last night’s draw is likely planning how to splurge with their new-found fortune.

But previous winners who became instant multi-millionaires have sage advice for anyone who wins big.

Daydreaming of what you would spend a major Lotto win is practically a national pastime.

Many fantasise about throwing in their day job, buying dream houses, cars and embarking on endless overseas holidays.

But how can you be smart with your money before you splash it all?

A 60-page winners’ booklet on the Lotto NZ website includes some of the most common advice from previous winners, which includes:

• Think before you spend: It’s best to spend some time thinking about your win and what you really want to do with the money before you start spending.

• Secrecy: be careful who you decide to tell about your good fortune.

• Financial advice: get advice from a professional, they know what they’re doing.

• Have fun: take time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do for fun, once you’ve secured some funds for the future.

The latest $23m winning Lotto ticket sold to a lucky player in Orewa, north of Auckland, has yet to be claimed.

The ticket, sold at Orewa Lotto Plus, is the third jackpot of more than $20m and the 14th Powerball multi-millionaire of the year.

In 2020, ahead of a $50m prize, Lotto NZ released advice from previous winners on how to deal with a big jackpot win.

“First of all, don’t have a heart attack! That’s the most important thing to remember,” laughed one of the winners.

“But seriously, my best piece of advice is to remember to eat and sleep in the first two weeks. It’s the little things like that that are easy to forget in the early days after a big win.

“Finally, the best thing we did was get good financial advice. Make sure they’re on the same wavelength as you and go into the conversation with a good idea of what you want to do long-term.”

When asked how to celebrate, the winners said: “Get all the family you want to tell together and let them know the good news straight away – it’s so nice having people to talk to as you get your head around it.”

In April 2021, a Greymouth Lotto winner turned to Google for advice on what to do with their new $1m fortune.

“I saw a comment from Lotto NZ saying to write your name on the back of the ticket immediately, so that’s what I did,” they said.

A Hokitika couple who won big on Lotto Powerball in 2013 said while winning $15.7m had changed their lives, they still budgeted their money, both continued working and still bought Lotto tickets every week.

“A great piece of advice we received was not to spend any money or do anything lavish with the money in the first six months after the win,” said the woman.

“This gave us some breathing room to make decisions about what we really wanted to do with the money – rather than spending on a whim.”

In 2020, Craig Offwood, regional manager at ANZ Private, gave his advice on what to do with your Lotto millions.

Offwood, who has worked with some of Lotto’s biggest winners, said:

• Consider putting the money into an interest-earning bank account. This will give you the opportunity to take time to work out your long and short-term plans. Don’t rush out and start spending. By all means, treat yourself to a nice dinner or bottle of Champagne. But carefully consider your options before you make any big decisions.

• Seek professional advice. It is important to find legal, investment and accounting experts who have proven experience in helping people who have experienced a similar life-changing event.

• Keep your circle of trust tight. It can be a big mistake to tell too many people, including sometimes relatives. They may expect you to share your winnings with them and this can lead to problems. It’s up to you to decide how you want to help your family and friends.

• Consider investing in assets that will provide a steady income. Get advice on assets that provide income that will grow and compound over the long term and could provide you with income for the rest of your life.

Statistics released from Lotto showed 85 per cent of big winners kept working, including remaining in the same job as before, 98 per cent still regularly purchased Lotto tickets, while 73 per cent revealed they had won via a Lucky Dip ticket.

Nineteen per cent said they had only shared their winning news with their partners, 31 per cent told their immediate family, 8 per cent told everybody they knew and 5 per cent kept the big news to themselves.

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