20/20 last night featured a segment on past Lotto winners (presumably in wake of the record $36m jackpot last week). Seriously, the first guy they interviewed must have been the biggest douche they could find. He was unemployed, and his brother bought the winning ticket in lieu of paying him back the $10 he lent him for a pizza. He must have won more than a million, considering he bought a nice looking house in Auckland (probably around 500k), a handful of cars, motorbikes, and furnished his entire house with expensive stuff – including 6k on tropical fish. And a “meditation seat” from which to enjoy coffee and cigarettes. And he reckoned he was living a Buddhist lifestyle! He reckons he’s gifted about 100k to friends and family and dropped “100-200” many times on helping out people with “overdue bills”, because what’s the good of having money “if you can’t help people”? thing is, once you start handing out money to people, they’ll just keep asking, or expecting you to bail them out.
The next piece gave me a huge shock, because I recognised the couple’s house instantly. It’s a house right around the corner from my parents, and also around the corner from one of my friends (whose place we happened to be at, at the time!). One of those beige/terracotta, cookie cutter post-2000 mcmansions. Every time we went past we’d take notice of the (somewhat ugly) yellow Porsche parked in their driveway. I mean, it’s a fairly nice suburb, and there are a lot of wealthy people living there, but none so ostentatious; think more middle to upper class, rather than Remuera rich. Anyway they seemed like a nice enough couple. Down to earth, sensible, pretty blonde kids – one of whom I’m sure I recognised from school. They sat on the money for a while, and didn’t even tell anyone for a few months.
That’s the way to go IMO – in fact, if at all possible, I don’t think I’d even tell anyone! But I suppose something as huge as winning the lottery is impossible to keep to yourself forever. This family went travelling to heaps of different countries, doing some shopping, and obviously buying a nice house and cars, and by the sounds of it presumably still have a tidy sum left. Maybe they should hold classes for Lotto winners on how best to conduct themselves. The Lotteries Commission has a book they give to Lotto winners – tips, advice, etc – but I’m willing to bet no one never actually reads it.