The lottery is so much fun to play. Whether it be a scratch off ticket or a Powerball ticket, the lottery has the ability to turn one of us poor souls into a person with wealth beyond our wildest dreams literally overnight.
All you need to do is go to a gas station or a convenience store and buy a ticket for a measly couple of bucks. And then, with a one in two million chance of winning, if the stars align just right, you may just win enough money to last you for the rest of your days.
Or will it? As it turns out, the vast majority of people who win the lottery end up losing almost everything (if not everything) after they win. They immediately pay off their debts, which is great, but then they begin spending their new found wealth extremely unwisely.
People will buy houses, islands, boats, planes, clothes, and so much more. They will give money to friends and family, quit their jobs, and try to live off of the money that they just won from the state.
However, a big issue that most people do not take into consideration is the fact that once you become super wealthy, you won’t be content with living the cheap life you have now – you’ll want to live big! This will make you spend your money faster than you ever thought possible.
Instead, what you should do in order to protect your new found wealth is to get a good financial advisor and a lawyer in order to both protect your money from other people as well as (and perhaps most importantly) protect your money from yourself.
When a British couple named Roger and Lara won the British lottery in 2006, they seemed to have it made. They made investments and put money into pursuing their dreams, not just buying fancy clothes. But how did they turn out?
Just a normal couple
Roger and his wife Lara were just your average British couple from West Yorkshire. A working class family of modest means, they were your typical nuclear British family, married and with two children. And then, all of a sudden, one day they made a move which would change their lives forever and propel them into international stardom – but not for the reason you might think.
Roger and Lara were both college educated and had a quite average existence in an average town in the north of Great Britain. Roger himself was an IT technician and his wife Lara was a teacher who helped children learn how to express themselves through the performing arts. Together, the couple was making an average yearly salary of about $100,000 (which isn’t that bad we might add). But then, their lives changed drastically.
Playing to win
‘A lot of us like to play the lottery. It’s always great to have that feeling like we might just win millions of dollars, as if we have the power to change our circumstances in such a huge way. However, the chances of winning the lottery are approximately one in a million, so most people just play for the fun of it. However, sometimes the dice are cast and a ticket with the winning numbers are spat out. It is then that most people believe that the fun begins.
The golden ticket
Roger and Lara were going about their daily lives in the mid 2000s. The couple were working hard and had an average existence. Coupled with that existence was a tendency to play the lottery. Spending one pound sterling on a lotto ticket is not the end of the world. It’s fun to hope, cheap enough that if (ie when) you don’t win you do not feel bad, and if you do, then wow!
So, one day in mid october of 2005, Roger went into a convenience store and bought a lottery ticket. He just popped in after work one day and decided to give it a go. His wife also played the lottery every once in awhile – it was something the couple had fun doing together. So, Roger was no less than shocked when he realized that the ticket he bought was the winning ticket! Literally overnight he was worth $2.4 million!
All of a sudden Roger and Lara had more money than they knew what to do with. And it came in such a quick, swift manner. In fact, the first thing that the couple did upon winning was not invest the money, not speak with a financial advisor, and not even tell their parents. Instead, the couple went out and bought a bottle of cheap champagne, got some cheap take out Indian food, and celebrated at home.
The wrong way to win
What many people tend to do once they win the lottery is they begin to tell anyone and everyone about it. A lot of times they even go on television and announce the windfall to the entire world. This is dangerous as not only will all of your family members start asking you for money, but criminals may begin to try to extort the money out of you.
More wrong moves
Upon winning the lottery both Lara as well as Roger quit their jobs. They figured that they were at this point wealthy enough to quit their jobs and that they no longer needed to work. For the first time in their lives they felt liberated, as if the entire world was open to them and that they could now do anything they wanted. However, they were about to find out that not everything was as it seemed.
The beginning of the end
The couple did what was easily one of the worst things they could have possibly done upon winning the lottery, which is quitting your job. What a lot of people do not realize is the fact that the money made after winning the lottery is finite and is finished with quite quickly. By not having an income stream, people will literally hemorrhage money until there is nothing left. Would they fall into the same trap?
Hire an advisor
Following many similar cases throughout the years, lottery winners should immediately contact a financial advisor and an attorney upon discovering their winning ticket. Having professional experts by their side at this time could solve many problems for the newly rich. The advisor will usually serve as a buffer between the winner and growing amount of stress that their fortune can cause. Sadly, many winner will ignore these guidelines and will tell their secret to their family or closest friends.
The family was living quite comfortably before Roger won the lottery and changed the family’s fortunes forever. They were living in a town called Boston Spa which is located between the British cities of Leeds and York. Their house was a four bedroom house and it was in a good neighborhood. And perhaps the most important thing (at least to them), was the fact that they were able to keep up with their mortgage payments.
$2,000 a day
With such a huge amount of money, the family wanted to upsize and get everything they never could have dreamed of buying before. In fact, within the first ten days of winning the lottery, the couple had already blown over $20,000 of their winnings. They spent their money on a brand new soft top Audi convertible along with a first class trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where they stayed in the nicest room of the nicest hotel.
A new house
The United Kingdom may have different channels than we do in the United States, but they still have a lot of the same kinds of shows. Soon after winning the lotto, Roger and Lara went on a house hunting show called Location Location Location and were featured on a special lotto winners episode. The couple chose to buy a really nice, futuristic converted barn to live in, but that was just the beginning.
One of the first major expenses that Roger and Lara came across when getting their new home was the fact that the place came without any furniture whatsoever. The two did not want to bring over all of the old furniture from their old house so they decided to buy everything all new from the top of the line retailers. All in all, the couple spent a total of $33,000 on new furniture for the place.
Refurbishing the house
Keep in mind, this particular house is not only just a fixer upper, it is a former farmer’s barn! So, in order to get it ready for the couple to move into, they needed to make it habitable. That means putting in insulation, repainting the outside, repainting the INSIDE, putting in air conditioning, lighting, and all manner of bathroom and kitchen fixtures. All in all, this cost the couple another $25,000.
Finally free of their financial obligations, the couple were able to take all of the vacations that celebrities could only dream of. One of the things that they loved doing was going to stay at a hotel in London called the One Aldwych. Just one night in this hotel costs a whopping 400 dollars! So much for weekends of cracking open a beer and watching whatever is on the TV.
What does one do in London after they’ve seen all of the museums and tried to make the Buckingham Palace guards laugh? Well, you go shopping of course! There is a reason that all of the royalty from the Middle East always do their biggest shopping sprees in style in London. And this is exactly what Lara did after her husband won the lotto – she started buying all the high fashion items she could not previously afford, like Louis Vuitton purses.
For the kids
Of course, when you have so much money and you have two children you try to give them the best of everything. And this was no different with Roger and Lara. In fact, the couple decided to send their children to a posh all girls private school close to their town. There they would rub shoulders with northern England’s rich and famous. The price tag for the kids’ school? $26,500 a year.
Of course, spending all that money on trips and houses and kids, Roger and Lara still wanted to spend some on their bodies. In fact, Lara wanted to look a lot better for Roger, so she would go and have 350 dollars a pop botox injections. Meanwhile, Roger decided that he wanted to become completely covered in tattoos, so he went and spent a few thousand getting his skin inked, including having his wife’s name tattooed on him.
In an attempt to make their money grow, Roger thought that he had some pretty sly business ideas. One of his business ideas was to buy a beauty parlour in the north of England. He figured that it would be a nice passive income stream. He also went out and bought another house which he thought would only appreciate in value, since, in 2007, the housing market looked like it was only able to go up.
Roger had always wanted to be a rockstar, and he now had the tattoos and the piercings to do it. So, he got his college band back together and went down to London in order to record. He would stay at a very fancy hotel in the center of the city where the British musical elite would stay in order to get leads. He also paid a publicist the equivalent of 1,500 dollars a month to help promote the band.
Despite all of his high hopes and the fact that his wife absolutely loved the music. The record that Roger made barely sold, and his single only sold a measly 600 copies. However, all in all, it cost Roger about 33,000 dollars in order to make his flop of an album. Nevertheless, his wife Lara was still extremely proud of him for going out on a limb and trying to live his dream. At least he gave it a shot.
Several experts revealed their research on the fate of lottery winners, which unfortunately is a sad one in most cases. According to them, almost 30% of all lottery winners will be bankrupt after a few years, meaning that their financial situation will be worse than before they won the lottery. Others show that the winners will disassociate themselves from their family and friends, and many often suffer from depression and other related problems.
It turns out that the salon that Roger and his wife Lara bought in order to be a passive income stream was losing them money. Despite the fact that they were actually making money on their investment for the first several months, in the end, they were losing about 5,000 dollars a month on the salon. However, they did not want to pull out, since they felt that if they could keep putting money into it, the salon would survive.
In 2008, the United States housing market bubble popped, and hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes. This had the effect of causing housing markets all over the world to crash, including the United Kingdom’s housing market. That house that Roger and Lara bought as an investment thinking that it would only appreciate in value? Well, its worth plummeted, and so did the family’s bank account.
Just four years after winning over two million dollars, they were down to their last $900,000. They were still not working (they were millionaires, remember?), so they realized that they needed to cut back on their spending. But how did they cut back? They stayed in slight cheaper hotels in the most expensive locations on the face of the earth, and they did not buy as much expensive alcohol. Yeah, real thrifty…
He father died
Lara and Roger’s marriage was under a lot of pressure, and the signs began to show. Roger quit his job and became a househusband, whereas Lara was working almost 60 hours a week in order to maintain her spa. While the money caused a great contention from the beginning, things got even worse for Lara when Stuart, her father, became ill and died in 2009. He was only 71 years old. Lara, who was devastated by her father’s death, said that things went downhill from there.
House on fire
Things were looking rough for the couple when all of a sudden, disaster struck. Right after christmas in 2009, a fire from the boiler room of the house erupted and spread throughout the house, completely gutting the structure and making the house uninhabitable. They were therefore forced to move out of their home and rent a property for seven months to the tune of $160,000. And then things got really bad.
Money is like a narcotic, addictive substance. People become addicted to having it and even more addicted to spending it. And when there is no more money to go around, after it is all said and done, people legitimately exhibit the symptoms of withdrawal as if they were on a hardcore substance. This is what happened to Roger. He became depressed and would lock himself in his study with his guitars as his wife worked in the Salon.
She suspected Roger
In addition to all of their problems, Lara revealed some disturbing news about Roger. Their happy marriage crumbled and she had suspicions about her husband. She found an email correspondence on his computer between him and another woman and confronted him about it. While Roger denied her cheating accusations, but Lara decided that it was time for her to end their 14-year marriage. “It was the worst moment of my life,” she said. “I found a conversation between Roger and a male friend. My husband was asking for a woman’s telephone number and his friend seemed to be encouraging him. I went to pieces and phoned Roger for an explanation. He said, ‘who have you been talking to?’ and I said, ‘I’m reading your emails.’”
He came back
“Within ten minutes he was back home,” Lara said. “He walked straight past me into his office, and started packing his bags. He was shouting at me, telling me I was an idiot and pathetic, then he just left.”
“I was hysterical. I tried calling him, but his phone was dead, and when I tried to contact him on Facebook he had blocked me. I don’t know if he was having an affair or not because he wouldn’t tell me. I still don’t know because he refuses to talk about it.”
Roger was not happy
“If he’d said to me “Look, I’m unhappy, I’m feeling unappreciated”, we could have worked on it. I may have been horrible to him for a week, but I would have forgiven him anything because I loved him. I don’t believe in divorce, family is everything to me. ‘An hour after leaving, he sent me a text saying he was ashamed of himself and then disappeared for three days. I didn’t know where he was, what he was doing or who he might be with.’ said the heartbroken Lara.
Roger eventually returned home a week later, but it wasn’t like she expected. “He said he wasn’t happy and hadn’t been happy for a while. He said he was glad I’d found the emails because it gave him the excuse he needed to leave me,” she revealed. “He’d just told me he wasn’t happy with me. There was no remorse or guilt. He didn’t say he loved me once. So no, in the circumstances, I wouldn’t let him stay,” she continued. They met again a week later and discussed about their relationship. “He accused me of being controlling and miserable,” Lara said.
Her dream was shattered
Lara recalls that Roger said that he “dreaded me coming home from work because ‘I changed the whole mood of the house.'” Lara then recalls that Roger continued, saying “‘I’m not coming back. I don’t love you any more.” She continued, saying “he just walked out, leaving me to deal with the mess…I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she pulls the curtain away and discovers the world isn’t magical at all, and that the Wizard is just some stupid bloke.”
They had no idea
“Roger always used to say he’d win the lottery one day and that it would be his pension fund, but when it actually happened it was a shock,” the ex-wife said. “Of course it was exciting, it’s what everyone dreams of, isn’t it? But looking back, that’s when all our worries started. We both come from good families, and are well-educated, but we weren’t wealthy and we had no idea how to manage such a large amount of money.”
Roger denies everything
Upon hearing Lara’s accusations, roger denied everything she said about his unfaithfulness and blamed his former wife for wasting their money on shopping blitzes. “She liked handbags, she liked shopping. She spent a lot of time at Louis Vuitton.” Roger also recalled her meltdown, saying “She went absolutely ballistic. It was the catalyst for me to think ‘I really don’t want to be in this relationship any more.’ It crucifies me that I’m not with my daughters,” he revealed. “But if I’d stayed, I would have gone mad.”
After working so hard and following Roger’s spiral into depression, Lara just could not take it anymore. The couple who had been married for over 14 years, was finished. Lara decided that she would divorce Roger and take the kids to live with her. It was a devastating blow for the whole family, and most of all for Roger. Just when he thought that he could not get into any deeper of a hole, Lara threw him a shovel.
Before the divorce, Lara and Roger decided to sell off what was left of the family’s assets. They sold off the salon (for $100,000 less than what they originally paid for it), sold off some of the houses, and began to downsize. Sadly, they actually had one of their former investment properties repossessed by the bank as they were unable to make the mortgage payments on the house.
The house is pawned
The worse thing is that Lara and Roger are still in debt and their home is used as a security against the loans they took for a her spa business. “Most people end up worse off in some way, and no one has any sympathy because you won the money instead of earning it. I’m not even back to square one, I’m much worse off than before the win,” Lara said. The house, which is located in West Yorkshire, is for sale.
Now, Roger lives by himself, broken in spirit as well as in bank account. He is now living in a tiny house, and he has sold off all of his designer clothes. He is also still unemployed, finding it difficult to find a job not only in the tough job market, but because he was not working for such a long time, instead galavanting around the world like a Kardashian. When asks what he thinks about winning the lottery, he says it was the worst day of his life.
Their new lives
Following their unfortunate events, both Lara and Roger had moved on and found new partners for life. In her facebook page, Lara can be seen kissing a anonymous young guy. Her former husband roger had tight the knot again and is now married to a stunning woman named Samantha Major. The two live together in North Yorkshire and Samantha, like his former wife, is also working in cosmetics and has her own business.
Roger and Samantha
We must say that Samantha’s cosmetics business is quite successful. The Sam Major Aesthetics offers Semi Permanent Makeup, Anti Wrinkle Injections, Fillers and HD Brows in both Leeds and Harrogate. Roger enjoys his time with her and it seems as he went back to his old life. He does not have any regrets about the things that he’s done. ‘I was living the millionaire’s lifestyle — everyone who wins the Lottery should do that,’ he says. ‘There’s no point entering otherwise.’
She still misses him
Lara still thinks about everything that has happened to them. ‘Sometimes I scream out: “Where did this go wrong?” The dream is that winning the Lottery sets you up for life. In reality you win it, then you worry about losing it all.’ She also wished that Roger would come back to her. ‘I didn’t know what to think. I was sure that any minute he’d turn up, bang the door down and say “Sorry, please forgive me”, but he didn’t, he just disappeared.’
In these times of the internet and social media, it almost impossible for a lottery winner to stay anonymous for a long period of time. We are all human beings and this new found wealth can blind even the modest people amongst us. You’ll start with buying some new clothes, a new car or helping out a good friend in need, then everyone around you will notice that something is different about you. From that moment on, everyone will want you to share your fortune with them.
Lotteries have a long history of being used in order to help provide more revenue to local and national governments. In fact, in the United States, many state lotteries are for the sole purpose of funding education and helping to pay for public schools. In fact, there are many states in which the lotto generates over $3 billion annually for public education. So, if you play the lottery and lose, just know that your kids still win.