Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Lotto winner's advice: Sit back and think

Don't make any big decisions before you've had a good long think. Photo / iStock
Don't make any big decisions before you've had a good long think. Photo / iStock

A former Lotto winner has some sensible advice for the country's newest multi-millionaires: don't do anything rash with that $22 million.

Last Saturday an Ashburton couple became the year's 12th Lotto winners, scooping up a huge Lotto and Powerball first division jackpot of $22.2 million combined.

The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, plan to spend some of their win on their wedding.

But another winner has advised them to think very carefully before making any other big purchases.

The New Plymouth woman, who won $1 million with Lotto first division in January this year, said the best advice she was given was to "sit back" and take the win in before making any big decisions.

"Really think about all your options. I made sure I got good financial advice too, which I definitely recommend," she said.

Like the Ashburton couple, the woman wished to remain anonymous.

Winning Lotto had changed her life, the woman said, by relieving financial pressure, but it had not changed her lifestyle.

She and her husband kept their house and both had kept working.

"[Leaving my job] was never an option for me. I love my job and the people I work with," she said.

Lotto also advises winners to take things slowly after winning big, and recommends people don't quit their jobs overnight.

All major prize winners receive a copy of Lotto's winners book, which is packed with tips, tricks and information to help newly cashed-up Kiwis.

A big win conjures up elaborate fantasies of luxury holidays and designer clothes but a recent Lotto survey found a huge chunk of winners were using their money to help others.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of winners used the money to help out family members and 30 per cent helped their communities with random acts of kindness, food parcels and donations.

Holidays were still a priority however, with 31 per cent of winners taking trips, particularly to the Pacific Islands and New York City.

A smaller number, 23 per cent, indulged in shopping sprees and some splashed out on new cars and big screen televisions.

Since 1987, when Lotto began, 754 instant millionaires have been created and more than 5400 first division Lotto, Powerball, Strike and Big Wednesday prizes have been won.

So far 2015 has been New Zealand's luckiest year with 13 Powerball winners but this year could be on track to beating that record with four Powerball first division winners already.

Top tips for winners from Lotto:

• Take your time deciding what to do next -- don't make any big decisions like leaving your job or making expensive purchases until you've had a chance to work out what you really want to do with your winnings

• Think carefully about who you tell about your big win -- once you tell them, you can't un-tell them.

• Put the majority of the winnings in a savings account for around three months. This gives winners plenty of time to let the reality of their win sink in before they begin spending

• Get professional financial advice from a registered financial advisor.

• Talk to family and close friends about what you might do (if you don't mind them knowing). Think about what you want to achieve over the rest of your life.

• Within a month of the win, work out your new financial position -- how much money you have and how much you owe on things like a car or mortgage.

• Make a financial plan with a list of priorities and revisit it every three months or so.

• Have fun and take the time to enjoy your win.

- NZ Herald

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