The Upside Of Being Lottery Rich Comes With A Warning

Unlike legendary footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, I don't park my Bentley in a disabled car park.

I walked out of the rest home foyer into the sunshine. Dressed smartly, but casual - as I do whenever I go out.

My Bentley was parked at the end of a row of about 30 Japanese sedans, SUVs and hatchback cars.

It really stood out, sleek and low, shining. And I was looking forward to the familiar excitement of admiring the lines as I walked closer, then touching the beautifully crafted and designed door handle, listening for the quiet unlock sound before slipping easily into a sophisticated interior that is pure car heaven.

As I went out the main door, one of the custodians of the complex was going by. We had never met, but exchanged nods and a smile.

As we passed he turned and said with admiration in his voice, "That's a lovely car you've got there."

I thanked him and moved towards it, wondering how on earth he managed to match me up with my car.

Was it possible that I looked like a Bentley owner? If so I was secretly pleased.

Of course, my reasoning might be way off... he might seen me drive up and get out. But it gives you an idea of how you're going to be perceived when you start buying expensive goodies with your vast lottery gains. I was lucky it was positive.

You can trip up if you're not careful. So here's a little list of things to avoid doing if you want to stay unchanged and unbothered after your big win...

1. Don't buy an exotic showcar. With an exotic automobile you are always 'on show'. I get followed, shadowed and pointed out in my sports cars. The bad part is that other drivers don't let me into traffic, and some drive aggressively near me for no reason. Expensive cars have a greater envy factor, and this brings out the worst in some people. I don't mind, I'm used to it after decades of owning eye-catching luxury cars. But if this is your first time in an expensive automobile, being the center of attention can be quite unnerving. So stay away from the Lamborghini and buy an average mid-range car, and over a year or two trade it up into better cars as you get more comfortable with your wealth. You'll then have the easy familiarity you see when someone is at home in their skin. You will match.

2. Don't buy expensive stuff that can be damaged. When a journalist went to a millionaire's apartment to interview him for a story the magazine was doing on his business, all the rich guy could do was complain. He was not happy in his modernistic giant penthouse high above New York. He whinged about tiny scratches made by tradesmen on his glass-stepped staircase. He moaned about small marks in the chrome furniture done by his cleaners. The rich do not come off well in these kinds of scenarios. Years earlier, in an interview with Richard G Nixon, writer of the famous 1970's blockbuster "The Lazy Man's Way To Riches", he could only talk about his dissatisfaction with his Rolls Royce cars - two of them. The millionaire pointed out oil stains on the garage floor and the repair bills. Faults come with the territory, and it's easy to get too pernickity. Life's not perfect. Relax a bit and enjoy your fabulous life.

3. Don't spend it all at once. It's hard to imagine that even $10 million can be spent faster than you think. Most of this amount will be gone in 2 years, the average time for most lottery winners to spend themselves out. Because once they buy multiple homes for their family, replace relative's cars with new ones, pay off debts from anyone related to them... half that amount will be gone in months. The other half will be spent on a higher standard of living like numerous vacations and world trips for many people. After all, the money was free wasn't it? And so it drains away very quickly. Ever wondered why many wealthy people go broke? Because they live up and beyond their income levels. Be warned.

4. Ignore it when you get pestered for handouts. The stories we read about families feuding over money are legendary. It gets even worse when that money is won, therefore seen as unearned, and everyone feels they should get a share. Lock it up in an account you can't get to for 6 months or a year - after keeping enough to make you happy in that time. Then shrug your shoulders at the procession of hopefuls with their hands out. "Nothing I can do, it's all invested," you can truthfully say.

5. Be real to yourself. I have a few pairs of exquisitely designed Italian leather loafers. Stylish, obviously expensive. But they hurt my feet, and even after some years wear they have never got any more comfortable. So most of the time I choose a brand I found that looks almost as good but is incredibly comfortable. And a quarter the price. I'd never pass grade in a line up of millionaires with these... my footwear is too ordinary. Most of the time I don't care and go for contented feet, not stylish ones. I've deserved it. And watches... do you really need a watch that costs as much as a car? Some high powered executives wear a Mickey Mouse watch because they know that it is their skills and personality that counts, not the blingy accessories. Be real, it matters more.

So is it worth winning after all these downsides? The answer is a resounding YES.

It is worth it because it's not what you buy, but how you handle your newfound wealth that will make you, or break you.

Nowadays there's plenty of advice on how to handle your wealth. The lotteries have recommended advisors and a team standing by to help winners make the most of their windfall.

But consider this... the happiest winners seem to be the ones who give most of their money away. Maybe you can consider that too... you can do a power of good in the world instead of making some fashion designer or yacht builder rich.


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