Everyone dreams of winning the lottery. However, coming across a windfall does not always guarantee plain sailing through life. The sudden and drastic change in lifestyle can be hard to deal with and there are challenges to be faced. Is it really worth it?

Life after lotto

Dreams of sipping cocktails on the beach in an exotic destination, lounging about in a mansion or speeding off in a sports car can blur the reality of what it’s really like to be a lottery winner. Whilst it may seem glamourous, in reality, winning the lottery brings about issues which many lotto winners are unprepared for. Here’s a list of things of important things to consider after you win the lottery.

Limelight or lay-low? You can’t keep your win a secret forever!

One of the first decisions which lottery winners need to take is whether to go public or not.

Some lottery winners make the case that it would be impossible to keep their win a secret and they would not be content to have to go through life lying about their wealth.

Joe and Jess Thwaite from Gloucester recently scooped a whopping £184 million EuroMillions jackpot in May. Jess explained: “maybe, naively, I thought we could tell a few people and it would be fine. But the list gets longer and soon you realise it would be a burden asking them to keep it quiet. Telling people makes it easier”.

On the other hand, going public brings plenty of unwanted attention. Firstly, you’ll get all the hangers-on and lost long cousins coming out of the woodwork looking for a handout. Sure, even if you tried to keep your win quiet this would probably happen anyway, unless you stayed very tight-lipped, but announcing yourself to the world as a millionaire is one sure way to speed up the process.

Furthermore, you’ll soon gets all sorts of requests from people who you don’t even know. The best advice after going public would be to keep a low profile after your win, unless you crave the limelight, in which case, you’ll have plenty of it. The tabloids love a good lotto winner story!
At least UK lottery winners have the choice whether to remain anonymous or not. In the US, only 11 states allow this privilege.  

However, there’s still a way to bet on US lotteries such as Powerball and MegaMillions from the UK without having to go public, by betting with online lottery operator Lottoland.

Some of Lottoland’s biggest jackpot winners have chosen to remain anonymous. One such Lottoland winner who chose to remain anonymous is the winner of the Guinness World Record for biggest online gambling payout for an incredible €90 million (£76.7 million) EuroJackpot win back in 2018.

What to do with the money? You’ll need to seek professional financial advice.

It may seem that this would be the least of all concerns for a lottery winner but despite all the dreams prior to winning, plus the initial plans made when the lottery is won, many lottery winners find that when it all becomes real, they don’t actually know what to do with so much money. This leads to poor financial decisions which can sometimes lead to ruin.
According to the US National Endowment for Financial Education, 70% of all lottery winners end up bankrupt within 5 years of their win.

One of the most famous cases of this in the UK is that of Michael Carroll, dubbed the ‘Lotto Lout’ who won £9.7 million on the National Lottery in 2022, aged 19. Carroll blew his fortune on cocaine, vodka, prostitutes, jewellery and even set up a ‘demolition derby’ in his back garden. Just eight years after his win, Carroll re-applied for his old job as a binman and currently works as a coalman in rural Scotland.
As the old proverb goes: “The art is not in making money, but in keeping it.”

It’s vital not to get carried away. By all means, enjoy your wealth, but it’s essential to seek professional advice on how to properly manage and invest your funds.

Vultures overhead! Beware of being exploited and protect yourself.

Life is cruel. The sad reality is that people will always try and take advantage of you, whether it’s a colleague at work who burdens you with extra tasks that you agree to take on because you’re ‘too nice’ or whether it’s being ripped off at a restaurant or scammed on holiday.
When you’re rich, you become a prime target, especially if you’re a known lottery winner.
In extreme cases, not only could you be exploited, but you could end up risking your life.
This was the tragic case of Abraham Shakespeare from Florida who won $30 million (£25 million) on the Florida Lottery in 2006, cashing-in on a $17 million (£14.2 million) lumpsum payment.

Shakespeare had launched a business with Dorice Donegan “Dee-Dee” Moore, who put herself in control of Shakespeare’s funds and withdrew $1 million (£835,039) to fund a lavish lifestyle including holidays a Hummer and a Chevrolet Corvette.

In December 2012, Moore was convicted of Shakespeare’s murder in the first degree. Shakespeare’s body had been found buried under the back garden of a property which Moore had purchased.

Elitism. The mega-rich will shun you and you’ll lose friends.

If you’re ever in a luxury marina, you’ll see all types of pleasure craft, from flash fishing boats to small but swanky yachts, to much larger super-yachts, all of these are owned by wealthy individuals. The tide really turns when the mega-yachts sail in.

Azzam, the longest yacht in the world at 180.61m, commissioned by the former ruler of Abu Dhabi, dwarfs mega-yachts owned by other billionaires, let alone millionaires.
The current record for the biggest lottery jackpot is an unbelievable $1.586 billion (£1.325 billion) Powerball jackpot, with the cash value after tax at $982.5 million (£820.4 million), although the prize was split between three tickets, so each winner took home $327.8 million (£237,7 million). The largest jackpot for a single ticket was a Mega Millions jackpot of $1.537 billion (£1.283 billion), with a cash value of $877.8 million (£732.8 million).
Even if you bet on Powerball with Lottoland from the UK and put yourself up there with Lottoland’s biggest jackpot winners, you’d still be a mere peasant compared to the world’s richest people. Elon Musk’s net worth is currently at $221.4 billion (£184.9 billion), for the record.
It's not just that you would seem poor next to the mega-rich, you would have a hard time fitting into the country club society if it was known that you are a lottery winner, as former lottery winners have claimed to have been looked down upon by other wealthy people, as if the wealth was not deserved, or simply because the lottery winner was “lucky”.
The irony is, many wealth people were themselves ‘lucky’ to be born into wealthy families and even “new money” is shunned by the aristocracy. Simply being a millionaire will not automatically guarantee your tea and crumpets with the Queen, or even being invited to her garden party for that matter.

On the other hand, you may find that your old friends have become more distant. This could be because you yourself have changed without realising it, or your friends could feel disconnected because they can’t compete with your lifestyle. You may have fallouts over cash when your friends ask you to help them out.
Imagine you moved into a gated community, living in a mansion with security guards and a fleet of luxury cars, how would old Bazza from down the pub feel? When you’ve swapped Benidorm for Bora Bora, it’s understandable that your old mates would feel left out.

No work can get boring. You’ll need to find a purpose in life.

As idyllic as lounging on a hammock on a tropical island may seem, after a while you’ll get sick of the cocktails and cigars and will crave a higher purpose. Not to mention, if you constantly spend like there’s no tomorrow, you’ll soon blow your way through your funds unless you invest wisely.
Investing in property or stocks is not only a good idea to keep your funds healthy, it’s also good for your mental health as it will give you something to keep an eye on.
It's important to keep your brain active, whether it’s taking up a new hobby, learning how to play an instrument, learning a new language, reading books or doing puzzles. Keep mentally agile helps to combat depression.
Boredom can lead to problems with substance abuse. It would be wise to keep fit, you could even do laps in your new pool or private gym! There’s no excuse!

The key is to find something your passionate about which you can work on and find a sense of purpose in life. It’s human nature.
It can even be something as simple as gardening or DIY. Sure, you can just pay a gardener or a carpenter, but doing these things creates a sense of worth and achievement which is essential to enjoying life.

Is winning the lottery really worth it?

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it certainly helps!

The important thing is to stay level-headed, take your time, don’t rush into crazy investments or go totally wild with your spending. Enjoy your fortune but keep sensible.
You’ve beaten odds of millions to become a millionaire, don’t let the millions beat you!
After all, is winning the lottery really worth all the hassle? You bet it is!