Winning the Lottery, Dos and Don'ts | theLotter South Africa

What Not to Do After Winning the Lottery - Here are 5 Golden Rules

Winning the lottery can be an immense burden for people who are not ready to handle the responsibility that comes with newly-found wealth, so we will try to share some insights regarding what not to do after winning the lottery. While people are always trying to find out how to win the lottery, they rarely think about what comes after becoming a millionaire. More often than not, winning the lottery is a roller coaster rather than a trip to happy land forever and regardless which world lottery you choose to play, the same rules apply!

Lottery jackpots worth millions, such as US Powerball or US Mega Millions, appear to be enough for more than one lifetime, but, in fact, these can be spent in only a few years if the winners give into the wrong lifestyle. There are statistics that show most lottery winners lose their entire winnings within 3 to 5 years since winning the prize. The money is easy to win, but even easier to lose, and they can slip through one’s fingers in the blink of an eye.

There seem to be a few rules every lottery winner should consider when becoming a jackpot winner. Many winners have shared their lottery stories and useful observations, so we have gathered a few of them for you:

1. Don’t tell everyone you know!

If one morning you wake up and you check your lottery ticket during breakfast, you might spill your coffee over the excitement caused by winning the lottery and becoming a millionaire overnight. You will probably also grab your phone and call your family and friends and post a happy status on Facebook and then go and claim your prize. This is all natural and everybody should be happy about receiving good news and, of course, be able to share those news. Nobody would probably take a step back in that moment and think what not to do after winning the lottery.


It’s important to remember, though, that not being used to managing such huge amounts of money you might benefit a lot from keeping it a secret at least in the beginning. Not going public would give you the comfort, space, and freedom you need to decide how you can manage your life from that moment on. If everybody knew about it, you’d be swamped with talking about your prize rather than managing it. Moreover, it is not safe for you to go public as you might even find your life threatened over money.

2. Don’t manage your finances yourself!

Whether you choose to take a cash lump sum or go for the annuity payment it is very important that you find professionals to support you in this endeavour. It seems to be a lot more complicated to manage hundreds of millions than simply managing your usual monthly salary. Most lottery winners think it’s the same thing, just more to spend.


It’s easy to believe that you can buy a house, put aside college money for kids, go on holiday, maybe buy a car or two, and, why not, help some friends out and then continue your life as always. The question is how will you continue? Will you keep spending? Keep giving? A financial advisor can help you invest your money, can help you make smart decisions about when and what to buy, can show you how to maintain your wealth or even become richer. They can show you all the ins and outs of living life in a whole different way than what you were used to.

3. Don’t become an investor for friends and family!

Another common trend when winning the lottery is the number of requests for financial help you receive from people you know, but also from a lot of people you have never met. You will receive endless charity contributions requests, various business opportunities requests and ideas. You will obviously feel more generous and feel you should return your good fortune, you will try to put yourself in the shoes of the people asking you for money. You will remember your life before playing the lottery and of course you will want to help.

But ask yourself a few questions first. “Am I a good investor? Am I an experienced business man? Are they experienced business investors?” Because if the answer you come up with is no, then the prize money is not going to turn any of you into wall street professionals overnight. Again, this is where a financial advisor could be your absolute best friend.

4. Don’t become a big spender!

Spending money has to be one of the easiest things in the world. Spending a lot of money is not only easy, but also very pleasant and comforting. Spending money when you don’t need to worry about spending money tops it all. Whether you spend money on yourself or for friends and family it’s easy to lose track of your spending in these situations.

Brindando con refresco

Jane Park, lotto winner who spent it all

When handling such huge amounts everything changes though, the perception of $1 is not the same it was before the prize winning. A house can turn into a mansion and before you know it, you might have spent more than half of that prize in a matter of days. Also, once you get into the habit of spending so much so quickly your expectations will change. Both you and the people you are spending money for, will expect it to keep happening and no matter how huge the prize, it can still end at some point, but you want to make that later rather than sooner.

5. Maintain your integrity and modesty!

“Money changes people”, this is what one South African lottery winner said when asked why he chose to keep his prize a secret. We have seen lottery winners spend all their money on drugs, lottery winners who forgot who they were once they became millionaires.

Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll, drugs, alcohol and jewelry

Having a lot of money might allow you to throw parties with endless quantities of alcohol, might make you feel like you are on top of the world, might make you feel like you can do anything you like, but there is one thing that will not do for you: it will not put you above the law. What is worse than spending all your money at once? Giving it away to attorneys to keep you out of jail!

Over the years, there have been amazing lottery winners stories, we have seen both success stories as well as less fortunate players. As you can see, winning the lottery is not the only thing that players should aspire to. Without proper planning and a solid financial incentive, jackpots, no matter how big, can be lost in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, the right management can make even the smallest of lottery wins flourish and help people prosper. What would you do with a million-dollar jackpot? Play US Powerball, Mega Millions, EuroMillions or any of the games on theLotter South Africa and maybe you will get to find out what it feels like to be a winner yourself.