Once upon a time, a princess met a beautiful prince. They fell in love, got married and lived happily ever after. Or not? Fairy tales might offer an idealistic idea of what a happy ending should look like, but few people realize that the prince and princess’ wedding is not the end – no, it’s actually just the beginning. And who knows how they’ll be doing in a few years.
The situation is similar with lucky winners. Most people imagine their happy ending in the form of a really fat prize. You guess the right numerical combination, buy the correct scratch card, or stop the spinning of the reels in a slot machine at just the right moment. All elements in the world join forces to make sure an incredible prize lands on your account, and you’ll never need to worry about money again. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it ends. Not even a win of such proportions can guarantee a happy ending – instead, they often start a sequence of events which can end up in all manner of ways. After all, winning a million now doesn’t mean you’ll be rich forever. If you don’t have a plan, you could end up losing your money extremely quickly.
It is understandable that your initial reaction might be to want to buy a Ferrari for each color, or to replace a fake Louis Vuitton purse with a collection of original purses. However, the fates of some winners clearly show that if you start actively squandering your money right from the very beginning, you’ll get through even a hefty prize very quickly. Indeed, in the real world neither fairytale marriages nor a million will last forever.
From a fairytale to a tragedy
In 2004, Sharon Tirabassi won over 10 million dollars and immediately used that to buy an exclusive car, a huge villa, and spent a few years living a very extravagant, party-filled lifestyle. Gerald Muswagon used his 10 million prize to buy expensive gifts for himself and his friends – that was in 1998. And Willie Hurt, the recipient of a 3.1 million jackpot, in 1989 decided to invest his prize in luxurious houses and alcohol... as you may have guessed, this did not lead to a happy ending. After a few years, they all returned to their old lives.
All of these players have one thing on common – they didn’t think their plans for the future through. You might not have won a million yet, but perhaps there’s one waiting for you just around the corner... after all, you just need to bet on your lucky numbers. But do you know what you should be mindful of when you win?
1. Don’t spend all your money immediately
It is necessary to approach shopping with consideration, especially when there’s a lot of money to go around. Imagine that you’d like something very much, but can’t afford it. And suddenly you score a big win – you can then buy that thing you wanted so much... but suddenly more and more such things keep popping up.
Specialists advise that winners should prepare a list of priorities, and choose one priority to focus on in a certain specified period. This helps control the flow of investment, and if you don’t spend everything immediately, then each purchase will make you happier. After all, your big win opens a lot of excellent opportunities for you and you’ll probably want to enjoy those even in a few months or years.
2. Do not make any fundamental life changes for at least half a year
Experts recommend avoiding fundamental life changes for some time, and the reason is simple. Big decisions at the beginning are often too impulsive and not well thought out, often leading into uncontrolled spending. In addition, once you get used to a certain standard, it’s really difficult to give it up if you need to do so later.
3. Prepare a financial plan
The secret of how to stay rich is to be mindful of how much you spend. You might be thinking that you have more money than you could spend in a lifetime, but can very quickly find out that all the digits on your account will start dwindling sooner than you expected – until you're left with just a zero. A 5-10 year financial plan will give you control over your expenses and provide an immediate overview of how much money you still have left.
4. Make your dream come true
Last but not least, do yourself a favor and enjoy some fun and relaxation. Visit a place you always wanted to see. Buy something that will really make you happy. But, while doing so, don’t forget all the other rules. That’s the only way to make sure you won’t part with your prize before really enjoying everything it can provide.