A UK ticket-holder won the full £170m Euromillions jackpot on Tuesday, making them Britain’s richest ever lottery winner. As the country holds its breath for the winner to come forward and claim their eye-watering sum, a lottery winner adviser and millionaires from previous lottery wins share their experiences about how to make the most of such a windfall.
How do I get over the initial shock?
If Andy Carter has good reason to speak to you, then life must be good. His role as “senior winner’s adviser” at lottery operator Camelot means that he spends his days talking to those people who have won eye-boggling amounts.
He says he often encourages big winners to get away for a few days to “let it all sink in”.
“It’s a huge shock,” he adds.
“If your thing is sitting on a beach, go and sit on a beach,” he says. “If it’s climbing mountains, go and do that.”
When Dean Allen and Louise Collier from Essex won £13.8m in 2000, they went to Hawaii straight after winning – and came home with more money in the bank than when they had left because of the interest they were earning.
You definitely shouldn’t start splashing the cash without thinking about it though.
Michael Carroll, a bin man from Norfolk, managed to spend all of his £9.7m fortune within eight years of winning it at the age of 19 in 2002.
Should I stop working?
Mr Carter says winning the lottery “enables you to follow your dream”. “If you’ve always wanted to run a cake shop, or be a florist, or train in something… you can,” he says.
But he says most lottery winners don’t choose to ditch the day job straight away, because they know it will take time to adjust to not working – in much the same way as retirement.
“We get lots of winners who invest in business, or do charity work and volunteering. People need something to do, a structure, a reason to get up in the morning,” he adds.
When Susan Herdman won £1.2m in 2010, the single mum kept working in her hair salon and hardly spent a penny of her winnings to begin with.
However, Ms Herdman says the £170m winner is in a completely different league to her small fortune. “You hear people say it’s too much money. It is if you’re going to be greedy with it, but how much fun could you have giving it away?” she says.
“When you first win the lottery, it is quite scary in a way,” she says. “I thought ‘I don’t really want things to change, because my life is pretty good’.”
However, after about a year, Ms Herdman says she realised she had been holding back. She sold the salon within a week and moved to Yorkshire to be with her partner Andrew Hornshaw, a farmer.
Without the restraint of working hours, Ms Herdman spends a lot of her time fundraising for charity – and raised more than £50,000 for Cancer Research last year.
Should I tell my friends?
Mr Carter says sharing news of the win “isn’t right for everyone” but that hiding it from close friends can be stressful.
“If it was your friend that won, you’d like them to tell you. And you’ve got to remember, it’s a good thing, it’s a nice thing,” he says.
However, telling friends can be difficult too.
Jane Restorick was 17 when she became Britain’s youngest Euromillions millionaire.
Ms Restorick, previously known as Jane Park, says there was an expectation that she should help friends or family if they were having money problems, which she found “stressful”.
Mr Carter says Camelot can help to connect winners with financial advisers, so that they can be savvy about how generous they can be with gifts.
“We would encourage people to give people a little bit [of money] and see what they do with it,” he says.
“There’s no need to give them a huge amount straight away – you can always give them more down the line. And also, talk to recipients of gifts about what would help them. Some people just don’t need it, others might want it staggered.”
How do I decide who to donate money to?
As Mr Carter points out, millionaires have “a lot of power” because they can choose how to influence and improve society through donations to charity.
He says making that decision is all about choosing something “close to your heart”.
Colin and Chris Weir, who scooped £161m in 2011, chose to donate £1m to the independence campaign ahead of the 2014 referendum in Scotland, and continued donating to the SNP afterwards.
The couple also set up The Weir Charitable Trust in 2013 which has employed people across the UK and “raised millions” for charitable causes, Mr Carter says.
Ms Herdman says she donates money regularly to the NSPCC, Dogs Trust and to a guide dogs charity, while Mr Allen says he gave money to a London hospital after his father had a heart operation there.
… and what should I do with the rest of it?
Dean Allen says he and his wife did so well out of their £13.8m win because they sat down and carefully agreed what they wanted to spend the money on.
“We thought about what we wanted to do for family and friends, because we had to make sure this lasted us the rest of our lives,” he says.
The couple has balanced their winnings well enough that they have been able to travel the world while providing for their loved ones.
Mr Carter’s main piece of advice is to “take your time” in deciding how to spend your money.
“The £170m is about not just you as a winner,” he adds, “but your family for generations to come. It’s about friends, it’s about charity – the scale of it is so vast.”
The vast network of more than 5,000 lottery winners can also be a great source of advice, Mr Carter says.
“The very best thing you can do is to have a cup of tea with another lottery winner.”