James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

'Keep it quiet' advice for Lotto winners

Kiwis dreaming of winning $27m Powerball are advised to put off splashing out if they do strike it rich

Trevor Cooper with his parents Kevin and Shirley and his winning Powerball ticket. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Trevor Cooper with his parents Kevin and Shirley and his winning Powerball ticket. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A Lotto-winning couple who struck it big with a $15.7 million jackpot earlier this year have some simple advice for anyone who wins tonight's enormous Powerball prize - get good financial advice and keep the win quiet.

Lotto fever has swept the country with the unstruck Big Wednesday jackpotting to $22 million and tonight's Powerball draw at $27 million - the third biggest prize in the game's history.

There is still a chance the pot may go higher with the first division prize pool allowed to jackpot up to $30 million, after which it must be won.

A Hokitika couple who won big on Lotto Powerball earlier this year said while winning $15.7 million had changed their lives, they still budgeted their money, are both working and they still buy Lotto tickets every week.

The couple, who asked to remain anonymous, said before winning the big prize they had planned to retire, clear debt and travel - but have ticked off just one of their three goals as both are still working and they're yet to leave the country.

They said the winner needed sound financial advice and needed to keep quiet about their windfall - beyond their family they've told nobody.

They went to their bank manager who helped them set up a group of financial advisers who were supportive in ensuring their winnings are protected.

"A great piece of advice we received was not to spend any money or do anything lavish with the money in the first six months after the win," said the woman. "This gave us some breathing room to make decisions about what we really wanted to do with the money - rather than spending on a whim."

After buying a ticket online, the woman's husband received an email advising them to log on to the website to check their ticket after the January 26 draw.

Not long after there were "a lot of tears all round" as they told family members of their windfall - just before they paid off all of their mortgages.

The big win has meant big life changes: less financial stress, "a couple of new cars" and they're working with their investment team to establish a trust to help disadvantaged people in the area they live.

But despite the peace of mind about financial security that comes with such riches they still budget their money carefully.

"I'm still working in the same job I was before I won Lotto, and plan to keep working," she said.

"We don't want to shake the mentality we had before we won. We're staying true to who we are and working hard to make sure we're still the same people - we have our friends and family and that's what's important."

Psychologist Sara Chatwin, who has advised Lotto winners in the past, recommended winners stay anonymous.

"Staying private gives you more choice because there are always people who will prey on you so you have to really think about the anonymity aspect of things."

She said winners needed to sit back and take time to decide how they want to proceed with their riches and new life. "We all fantasise about this stuff and how we would buy jewels, houses or cars but a lot of people don't rush out and change. Most take it easy and plan to see what they can do with their money that stands them in good stead because as easy as it is to win it it's easy to lose it and to be preyed on by people."

Last year Trevor Cooper from Te Kauwhata, went public about his huge win but went into hiding not long after when people started begging him for money.

The checkout operator at the Huntly Countdown had vowed to keep working but he left his job, saying he was overwhelmed by the media's interest in his $26.5 million windfall.


By the numbers

Lotto balls: 40
Needed to win Lotto: 6
Powerball balls: 10
Needed to win Powerball: 1
Most common Powerball number drawn: 2

Biggest jackpots

• Biggest Powerball jackpot: $34.8 million in 2011 (shared by two players in Hamilton and Dannevirke).

• Biggest individual Powerball prize: $28 million in 2010 (won by a player in Papakura).

• This weekend's Powerball jackpot: $27 million.

• According to mathematicians, the odds of winning Powerball division one with a standard 10-line ticket are one in 3,838,380.

- NZ Herald

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