Be honest, you don’t think you need to read this article. You’ve imagined it enough times already; the excited phone calls, the email telling your boss where to go, the round-the-world trip, the new Jaguar iPace.
If you count them up, there are probably way more than seven things you already know you’d do if you won the Lotto – but that’s where John Lowe, The Money Doctor, comes in with a dose of reality and advice, to make sure that your windfall, should it come, lasts you long into your dotage!
Here are his 7 tips for when you’ve won the lotto:
1. Keep schtum
Don’t shout it from the rooftops – and certainly don’t take to Facebook. This may be the toughest thing you could do, but take my word for it: money will bring the weird and wonderful out of the woodwork, along with every penny-pincher who feels they’ve ever done you a favour and all the long-lost family members who feel entitled. Tell your partner, your accountant or financial adviser – and nobody else.
2. Make a list
What are the expenses you really need to take care of and what are your priorities? For most people, a mortgage and car loans are the two biggest expenses. But what about your children’s education? Sure, Ireland offers it for 'free' now but with recent reports putting a third-level education at €45,000-€50,000 per child and that’s without fees, it just may take a lottery win to afford to put three kids through college – especially with the murmur of third-level fees always on the horizon.
3. Think about retirement
Say you win €2 million. A fortune. The dream. Now, say you and your partner are both 35, you owe €380,000 on your mortgage and €20,000 on your cars. You pay all that off. You have three young children and another on the way.
With recent research pointing towards the cost of raising a child topping out at over €240,000 from infancy to age 22 (3rd level completion), how far do you think your money is going to go?
By the time your kids are at college (and costing you €42,000 while they’re there), you’ll be down to €1 million – and you’ll only be in your mid 50's. How can you make sure that €1 million lasts you another 30 odd years? And what kind of retirement do you want to have?
4. Treat yourself – and get a little good karma
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being kind to yourself, should you be in receipt of a windfall. Do the things you’ve always wanted to do, see the places you’ve always wanted to see – and think about the things you always wished you could do, if only you’d had the money.
Is there a charity or a cause you always wanted to champion? Winning the lottery is a once-in-a-lifetime boon, so take the chance to pay it forward. You won’t miss the money, but the charity you gift it to will appreciate it beyond measure.
5. Treat your loved ones – smartly
Who wouldn’t love to give their parents and siblings a fortune? The problem is Capital Acquisitions (Inheritance) Tax, charged on significant monetary gifts to others.
If you’re gifting to your children, you can give each €310,000 without being taxed; this reduces to €32,500 for parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews and grandchildren; and a measly €16,250 for others.
Although maybe when you have millions, the 33% CAT tax won’t matter...remember you CAN gift anyone €3,000 every year where the recipient pays no tax.
6. Find your passion
Many people think they’d quit work immediately upon winning the lottery – but what if money were no object? Think about what you’d really love to do with your life – and then do it. After all, you can afford to retrain, to move, to take some downtime until you find the perfect role or start your own business or cause. You might have more money than you know how to spend, but you still have to live – so make sure you make it counts.
7. Invest wisely
Both in assets and in advice. Don’t lose your head in excitement, like Michael Carroll, the binman in England who won millions at age 19, blew it all and ended up right back where he started. Make sure you speak to someone (like yours truly!) who can advise you professionally on investments, savings and alternatives including property investment. Be wise with your money and it will make you even more – preserve and grow your money in that order.