What to Do When You Win the South African Lottery

Hands up if you dream of winning the Lottery?

If your hand is up, you’re not alone.

In these tough financial times, every South African dreams of hitting the ultimate jackpot. Lavish overseas holidays, financial freedom, charity support and total bliss are what comes to mind when thinking about that kind of money. But remember, this takes careful planning and financial management

It’s not a matter of IF. It's a matter of WHEN, and when you do win we are here to guide you through the process! Keep reading to find out what to do when you win the lottery.

What to Do When You Win the Lottery

If you’re wondering what to do after winning the lottery, then keep reading. We’ve outlined the steps you must take after the big win.

Finders Keepers

First things first.

Before anything else, make sure your winning lottery ticket is safe. Sign the back of the ticket. The ticket is what’s known as a bearer instrument. This simply means that whoever hands it in is declared the winner.

So, it's pretty obvious why you don’t want it ending up in the wrong hands. Make sure to sign the back of it and no one will be able to claim it as their own.

When it's signed, be sure to make copies. Store digital copies as well as paper copies, and then hide the real ticket in a safe spot. Either a home safe or a safe deposit box at the bank is best.

Once your ticket is secured, you can sit back and take your time to contact the lottery authorities. This will give you a moment to relax and come to terms with your win. It also allows the media circus of a big winner to die down a bit.

Most lotteries give winners around 6 to 12 months to claim their money. This means you have plenty of time to chill out before contacting them.

Hire a Team

Next, you need to hire a team.

The team you select are essential in helping you make the best decisions you can about your future. Ideally, you’ll want an attorney, a financial planner, and an accountant. Your attorney should be well-versed in financial issues, in order to give you the very best support possible.

Now you can afford it, don’t skimp on your team. If you feel strange about any advice they’re giving you, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.

Once your team is in place, keep quiet. As soon as word gets out about your win, your life as you know it will change. You want to be totally prepared for your life to change, so don’t tell anyone except immediate family at this stage.

What Happens to the Money?

If you won the lottery, how would you spend it? This question is definitely one that’s crossed your mind.

This is the fun but tricky part.

You’re going to have to think long and hard about how you’ll spend your winnings. How will you divide it up? How much will you invest? 

Take your time to go over all your options, seek advice. Wait. And make sure you put enough away for your future.

Of course, it’s a pretty bad idea to spend your fortune in a couple of months. While this sounds crazy, it has happened in the past. Some lottery winners have lost control and spent their millions in the first six months. It’s easier than you think to be blinded by luxury and excess.

You want your new lifestyle to last for the rest of your life. So save, invest and spend wisely.

Make Manageable Changes

This is a big one. It’s very important to avoid drastic lifestyle changes until you’ve sufficiently planned for the future.

After winning the lottery, don’t do anything crazy like suddenly quitting your job until you’ve got all your plans in place. Avoid massive purchases during this time too. No luxury cars or European villas just yet.

Of course, you must set aside a budget for splurges but keep these to a minimum at first. Self-control is key to managing your fortune.

The big purchases should come later when you have your financial plan firmly in place. It’s a good idea to ease into your new lifestyle. Experts recommend doing this slowly by first renting in your desired neighbourhood, for example. Instead of going fully into it, slowly ease yourself into a new way of life.

Change Your Address

Perhaps the most important point of all is this one. Change your contact details.

As soon as word gets out about your fortune, you’re going to hear from a bunch of people, most of whom you won’t even know.

Change your phone number to a new, unlisted one and get a post office box for your mail. Make it as hard as possible for people to find and contact you. You must be prepared for distant friends, family, charities and just about anyone to ask you for handouts. People will beg and plead, which can become extremely uncomfortable.

Think carefully about whether you want any media attention. If you want to avoid becoming a mini-celebrity, then stay anonymous.

While it’s an incredible time to use your wealth for good, it can also become very stressful if people are too involved in your new lifestyle. High expectations, judgment, and even threats are all common when people find out you’re a millionaire.

Take whatever steps you feel necessary to maintain a balanced and healthy mental state.

Laying a good foundation is key to making the most of your good fortune – you’ll find that everything falls into place after that. Before you rush out to claim your winnings, address the above items and you’ll be fine.