Pattie Lovett-Reid: Advice for the $65-million lottery winner
A sign outside a Toronto convenience store advertises a Lotto Max draw. (Chris Kitching)
TORONTO -- I have to admit I'm a little envious - someone in Northern Ontario is a whole lot richer - $65 million richer.
If you bought a ticket for Tuesday night's Lotto Max draw in northern Ontario, you might be a winner.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) said a single-winning ticket sold in Timiskaming/Cochrane District has won the jackpot of $65 million.
The second prize-winning ticket was sold in Peterborough and is worth $208,034.90 and an Encore ticket sold in Brampton is worth $100,000.
I've never been a fan of lottery tickets; however, winning a lottery could have a significant impact on your life, depending on how much is up for grabs. Everyone is different and how much it will take to change your life depends on your current situation, but safe to say that even if you didn't win the $65 million, a smaller haul could be a big deal for your financial situation.
If you do win big, the first course of action is to breathe, pause and seriously consider next steps. By the way it isn't only about winning the lottery it could be any amount of money you come into a severance from work, an inheritance, even the sale of a home.
Charities will come knocking at your door. One of the wonderful things about wealth is the ability to help others. However, you cannot respond to every request. So taking the time to establish your philanthropic goals will help determine who and which organizations will benefit from your windfall.
The next step is to look to a team of professionals you know and trust and who you can turn to for guidance. This is where a good tax planner, accountant, investment adviser, or certified financial planner come into play. And I’m not going to do anything with the winnings until I have spoken with all three and developed a plan.
For the first time in your life you might also have to think about security for yourself and your family when you go out in public.
And then there's the big question to be asked: Will I continue to work or not? It’s personal and can often depend on how much you love what you’re doing. Do you like the people you work with, and how is it you want to spend your days? Of course the size of the jackpot comes into play as well. But I can answer this question right now: Yes, I would continue working.
Finally, we have all heard the stories of lottery winners striking it big only to find themselves facing financial hardship down the road. Don’t trust only your own judgment and get a second opinion. Winning the lottery is a great thing, but the fundamentals of financial planning still come into play: I need to live within my means even if my means are now a little richer than they were before.
Develop a plan, stick to the plan, and recognize that those who have failed to do so in the past have, in some cases, paid the consequences and gone broke.