Georgia Lottery's Mega Millions winner Wayne Reese may not have had the problems another winner faced in this story.
Robb called his family up from different parts of their vast home by phone.
"Sorry guys," he said resignedly when they had all gathered in the great room, "we have to sell. I can't afford this place any longer."
Truth was, he also missed seeing his family. Because the 15,000 sq ft home he bought 2 years ago from his lottery jackpot winnings was so large, he hardly ever saw them.
The kids were in their room, the home cinema or out on the vast grounds playing with the bikes and go carts he had provided.
But the reality was bigger than that.
He couldn't afford the taxes and upkeep.
He's spent all his winnings on furniture to fill the home, cars for himself and his relatives, paid off family mortgages and bills, taken people for extended holidays.
Now the money had run out.
He couldn't believe how fast the $12 million dribbled away. After just 2 years of having everything they dreamed of, it was all gone.
Sure, they could sell all the toys, but because they bought new they would only get half of what they paid. Except the huge traveling costs. Nothing back from that!
Across town Jill was luxuriating in her 3,000 sq ft waterside apartment. It was the perfect size. Because it was not large, that meant that it was easy and less expensive to clean.
Being an apartment meant that there were few maintenance costs for her, and if she locked up for the winter when she wanted to go to the tropics, she knew that it was secure.
Her two cars sat prettily in the garage below. A mid-priced saloon for practical getting around, and her dream car, a vintage E-Type Jaguar for fun driving.
The best part though, was her income.
She had spent only $2 million from the $12 million she won in a similar jackpot to Robb. The rest she put in the bank and bonds, and lived off the interest.
For the rest of her life she would have $500,000 a year, less tax, flowing into her savings account - to spend as she wanted.
If she wanted a larger sum for buying an investment or business, she could borrow from her capital, which would be paid back from the interest.
Two different people with vastly different plans... but at the end the same standard of living. One is temporary, the other permanent.
It shows that winning takes some preparation... so that maybe the only opportunity in your lifetime won't be squandered.
Today, more winners are educated. Fewer winners are suffering the way Robb did. But it still happens.
The lottery organizations are recognizing they have a responsibility and are providing financial advisors and other help.
My advice - take their support.
- Surround yourself with qualified experts.
- Sit on your winnings until you have a plan on how to make the most of it.
- And keep reading my articles to know what to expect and how to deal with it!