Last night, a mystery Victorian with an unregistered ticket won the entire $80 million Powerball division one prize.
The winner, who has yet to come forward, shares the title of Australia’s third-biggest lottery winner with this being the second time an Aussie has scored an $80 million Powerball prize this year.
Back in early 2019, an inner-Sydney mother took home the biggest Powerball jackpot ever – $107 million – and was informed by NSW Lotteries of the news on the phone.
Fucking awesome, isn’t it – but what happens after you win the lottery?
Immediately after you win the lottery
After a lottery winner is located or identified, they’ll be informed privately. If not by phone call – the usual case for online entrants – newsagents are instructed to be discrete when letting winners know of their new-found fortune in person.
On some occasions, if claimed at a machine, winners are simply advised to contact the state lottery for further information. Most assume they’ve won, but at this point, they still don’t know how much.
The next available business day, winners are invited to a discrete meeting with a representative from the state lottery.
ABC Perth Radio revealed what the exact process looks like for Western Australian winners, which one can assume remains relatively consistent across the country.
In WA, the representative to greet, inform, and advise winners is Ms. Pina Compagnone. In a nondescript room in the western Perth suburb of Subiaco, Ms. Compagnone is met with “a lot of tearful joy,” she also sees “confusion, uncontrollable giggling and occasionally extreme exhaustion.”
Winners are given chocolates, tissues and a glass of water, along with either one of two advice booklets, depending on whether they’re collecting more or less than $5 million.
Such booklets not only give advice on how to go about handling your wealth but, more pressingly, who to tell – or not to tell. Legally, winners aren’t even required to advise their partner if they don’t wish to, but most tell their close family, children and close friends. Some prefer to keep the exact amount to themselves, which seems like the smart way to play it.
What to do with your lotto winnings?
The age-old question, the stuff of vibrant pub chats and pillow talk for decades. What would you do if you won last night’s $80 million?
The biggest piece of advice that seems to be a consensus across the board is to avoid sudden changes immediately. Set aside a specific sum to celebrate in moderation, and then pull your head in before making any big decisions.
No spontaneous dream home purchases, no driving Ferrari’s straight out of the showroom. At least not yet.
Unless you’ve won $80 million, or even $107.5 million, don’t quit your job the next day. Most winnings – even those in the millions – won’t see you out until the day you die. Take a few days off to get your head around things and your affairs in order. Don’t quit your job. You still need direction and purpose in life, and probably now more than ever.
Unlike in the United States, the winnings are tax-free, although any interest earned is not. Seek the best financial advice you can find and make sure you’re well aware of the investment and tax consequences as well as any other incurred costs. It’s wise to put your winnings into a high-interest bank account for the first few months while you flesh out a financial plan and investment portfolio. Clear your debts, both mortgage and credit cards if you have any, and get your estate in order. You may also wish to nominate any charities you’d like to contribute to.
On a more serious note, avoid becoming an easy target for anyone around you who might prey on your newfound wealth should they find out. Seek advice on whether your investments should be purchased through a structure such as a family trust or superannuation fund to keep things discrete and funds tied up in the right places.
Once that headache is all out of the way, bloody oath you should go and enjoy it.
If it were us, you’d find the whole office on a superyacht in the South of France getting legless on Dom Pérignon for at least a month, probably two.
The advice in this article is general and readers should seek professional opinions before making any financial decisions of their own.