Financial adviser says $44m Lotto winner must write financial plan

By Melissa Nightingale

Plan, plan, plan.

That's the advice the board chair of the Institute of Financial Advisers is giving to the winners of last night's record-breaking $44 million Lotto draw.

Lotto NZ spokeswoman Kirsten Robinson confirmed today the prize has gone to a young couple from the Hibiscus Coast, in Auckland.

Financial adviser Michael Dowling said it was a good idea for New Zealand's newest millionaires to "diversify" what they did with the money, rather than invest it all into one area.

"Obviously we don't know if the person is used to managing large amounts of money or not," he said.

Dowling compared the risk to that of putting someone in a large truck when they had no experience driving it.

"They can do a lot of damage," he said.

He encouraged the winners to gain financial expertise if they had none, either by using their money to put themselves through university to gain the expertise, or by hiring financial advisers.

The most important step was to make up a financial plan, he said.

This would usually address how much money was needed for a comfortable retirement, then for many people the plan would then address whether they wanted to use some of the money on family.

"Maybe I've got a wider family, what do I want for my kids, what do I want for my parents, my brothers and sisters? That sort of money is life-changing but it could also be family changing. You could set up a fund that effects multi generations."

Some people might have interests in charities and want to donate, but Dowling cautioned against donating huge amounts to a charity without first doing research on them.

"There's a lot of responsibility that comes with distributing a fund like that."

He also said some people might like to set up charities or foundations of their own, which could end up becoming a full-time job.

Dowling said if someone wanted to buy 44 houses in Auckland and live off that they could, but cautioned against it.

"If you're doing it just to be financially well off . . . you could be financially well off with $44 million without being a landlord. Talk to some people who owned a large amount of properties in Christchurch . . . There's a whole lot of people that have gone bust over that stuff."

Dowling said people who made a living out of being landlords were generally highly knowledgeable in their areas and were fully aware of the risks.

Putting all the money into one area was not the safest plan.

"Diversification protects you from the things you don't know about. If you're in property and you put it all in property, you better know what those risks are."

It was also important for the winners to adapt their business plan.

"They might have had a plan already. $44 million has just blown that plan."

- NZ Herald

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