Retirement Income

12 things lotto winners won't tell you

12 things lotto winners won't tell you

1. Secrets of their success
On the whole, lottery winners tend to keep a fairly low profile when it comes to discussing their newfound wealth. We asked past winners to weigh in on losing friends, becoming spectacles, and increasing the odds of striking it rich.

2. Easy come, easy go
Whether they win $500 million or $1 million, about 70 percent of lotto winners lose or spend all the money in five years or less.

3. Take a second chance
If available, always play the second-chance drawings. Some games require you to mail in your losing ticket. Others tell you to go online and register the ticket’s serial number. People either don’t know about the drawings or don’t take the time to enter, so your odds of winning are always better. 

4. We don’t quit while we’re ahead
Do lotto winners still play the lottery? Absolutely. And we’re sure we’re going to win again.

5. You will be exploited – possibly by your friends
I had one friend who told me this sob story about how behind she was on her taxes, how they were going to take her house because she couldn’t pay. After she left, I got on my computer, looked up her tax records, and saw that she wasn’t behind. When I printed out that page and sent it to her, well, that was the end of our friendship.

6. A lot can seem like a little
If you win $6 million and find yourself in a room full of lotto winners who won $100 million or more, all of a sudden, you feel like the poor one. It’s all relative. But don’t feel too bummed – there are plenty of big lottery winners whose money (and luck) ran out.

7. We answer for our impulse purchases
After we won the lottery, we bought an eight-bedroom, seven-bath, 10,000-square-foot mansion because we could, and it sounded amazing. Well, now we’re selling the eight-bedroom, seven-bath mansion because it’s impractical for a family of four. If only we knew ahead of time that it was one of the 13 things rich people never waste their money on. 

8. We are still looked down upon by the truly wealthy
After we won and moved into an exclusive neighbourhood, we planned a huge party and invited all our neighbours. None of them came – they thought we didn’t earn our money.

9. We’re sick of money questions
It drives me nuts when people ask where I keep the money, how I spend it, and if I still have it. No one would dream of asking a CEO those questions. 

10. Your friends will change with your lifestyle
All lotto winners think they’re going to have the same friends and do the same things. But if you have $100 million and you want to fly to Hong Kong for the weekend, you need to either find someone who can afford to go with you or be willing to subsidise someone. And subsidising people gets old.

11. ‘Tis better to give
Now that I can buy anything I want, I’ve learned that what really matters – and what I enjoy most – is being able to do things that help other people.

12. Don’t donate all at once
If you want to give a charity a big sum of money, never give it all at once. It’s better to donate $100,000 a year for ten years so you can retain some control and make sure the cash is being spent wisely. Make sure you're giving wisely with our guide to sensible charity donation. 

Who are we kidding? Life is great.
You haven’t lived until someone picks up the laundry from your front porch and brings it back to you that night, completely done and neatly folded.

Written by Michelle Crouch. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.