Once you have checked your numbers, jumped up and down in excitement like a jack-in-the-box and maybe screamed down the phone at a loved one, it is time to get down to business. Here are the steps you should take, the key decisions you will face and the best ways to make sure the money really does improve your life forever.
Claim the Prize
The length of time you have to claim a prize depends on the country in which you bought your ticket. If you play in the UK, for example, you have 180 days to come forward, so there is no immediate rush. However, if you want to take a bit of time to come to terms with the news, make sure to keep the ticket in a safe place and sign the back of it until you are ready to make your claim.
While smaller wins can be claimed from local retailers or affiliated Post Offices, you will need to contact the National Lottery to pick up a jackpot or large prize. Visit the How to Claim page to find out more information on the process.
Your win will then have to be validated before the money can be paid into your account, and this will be done at a meeting with winners’ advisors. You will be asked to present two forms of ID and hand over the winning ticket so the relevant paperwork can be completed.
One of the first big decisions facing a EuroMillions winner is whether to go public or not, and this is something you should think carefully about. It might be tempting to shout your news from the rooftops, or even do what US couple John and Lisa Robinson did when they won a share of the record Powerball jackpot in January 2016 and went on the Today show before their ticket had even been verified. Unsurprisingly, this is not the recommended course of action.
You will receive advice when you come forward on the merits of publicity vs anonymity, but ultimately it is your own decision. The majority of jackpot winners do keep their identities private, as they can then get on with their lives as normally as possible away from the spotlight of the media. However, you may feel an extra pressure in trying to keep such a big win secret and see ways in which you could make a difference by sharing your name. Chris and Colin Weir, winners of £161.6 million in 2011, would not have been able to make such a big contribution to good causes across Scotland with their Weir Charitable Trust if they did not have a public profile.
To work, or not to work, that is another question for a jackpot winner. Many EuroMillions players will have imagined how great it must be to just call in and say ‘I won’t be coming back to work, I’m a millionaire’, or perhaps stroll into the boss’ office on a Monday morning, hand in your resignation and say what you really think of them.
You should try and resist this temptation. Remember the good parts of your job, the friends you have made there and the way it keeps you grounded in reality. Even if you want to get out, do so professionally and don’t hurry. You could perhaps ask about going part-time as you make a gradual transition to your new life. Just because you have won EuroMillions does not mean you can afford to become too relaxed about the value of money. In fact, you need to be extra watchful to make sure you don’t blow the lot.
Winners’ advisors will help you when you come forward, providing useful information on who to talk to for legal and financial advice, as well as speaking to you about what other winners have found helpful. You will no doubt be bombarded with advice from well-meaning friends and financial requests from long-forgotten acquaintances, so it is vital to find a team of competent and trusted advisors.
You may want to parade your newfound wealth to the world straight away, maybe splashing out on a speedboat in your first week as a multimillionaire. Before spending, though, it is a good idea to invest. Why are the dragons on Dragons’ Den prepared to part with so much of their cash when they are already millionaires? Because they want their investments to make them even more money. Use your advisors to find ways to invest your money effectively.
Make a Plan
Having consulted your advisors and made your investments, it is time to think about what you want most from your EuroMillions win. Is the long-term happiness of your family the top priority? Have you always wanted to live in that rich local village up the road? Is a round-the-world trip on your bucket list? When do you want to retire? Work out your budget and start to plan things out. Maybe the speedboat can wait until after you have paid off your mortgage and helped a family member get on the property ladder.
Unfortunately, not all lottery winners are sensible with their money. It is possible to end up back on life’s minimum-wage treadmill if you splurge all your cash on wild parties and extravagant purchases, or generally don’t make smart choices. Stay true to your values, remember who was there for you before you were rich and try not to change too much as a person. It may be that you want to make a difference to other people’s lives and donate some of your money to causes close to your heart.
Enjoy the Win
Whilst you should always think carefully about big purchases and investments and continuously monitor your bank account to make sure you are keeping on top of things, this is also your chance to live the dream. You bought that EuroMillions ticket in the hope of winning and now have an opportunity to live like few other people in the world, so make the most of it. Whether you want to buy new cars, homes or go to places you’ve never visited before, this is your chance.
If you want the chance to enjoy a big EuroMillions jackpot win, go to an authorised retailer in any participating country or choose numbers online now.