Great wealth - do you own it or does it own you - Jim Duffy
But one lucky punter has scooped the big one. Just imagine – more than £100m tax-free. How life-changing would that be? But could you spend the cash on all you want and where could it eventually lead?
The first problem with winning such a huge amount of money is having to manage it. I guess Camelot will steer you towards a private bank like Coutts to deposit the cash. But from thereon in you are technically on your own. And it’s a headache.
Keeping so much cash in one bank could be viewed as dangerous – so you have to open a few accounts with different banks to spread your wealth around, just in case one of them goes belly up. That could most certainly happen.
This then presents the issue of managing all these accounts, sort codes and of course wealth managers, who will keep at you to invest, invest, invest. It might seem weird having £100m in the bank to be told that inflation is eating into your money. But that is the reality that will be painted for you.
Next up is where to live. Like the new jackpot winners this week who have announced their good fortune to the world, picking a nice location isn’t going to be easy. After all, the neighbours will know who you are, along with everyone else for that matter. Do you stay where you are and maybe upsize to a detached with some land?
Or do you go out of town and buy a small estate to give you some privacy? Perhaps a penthouse in Knightsbridge costing a whopping £32m? But making this decision will not be easy as you can literally live anywhere you wish.
Having attracted such good luck will now attract the tabloids. You are part of lottery history and to an extent the newspapers will own you. Many will be looking for the cracks to appear.
Having so much money and choice can lead to a massive fear of missing out (FOMO). Why have a Jaguar when you can have a Bentley? Why have a Bentley when you can have a Lambo? And so it goes on.
You then have several cars that require garaging and attract attention. Of course, this FOMO is in every decision you make. Why have a Rolex when you can have an even more expensive, fancier and in-vogue timepiece? Money is no object, so you can have the best of everything. But where will it stop?
Herein lies the significant downside of winning such a big chunk of cash – and why I believe that making 100 millionaires rather than one multi-millionaire is a better modus for the lottery management. It is literally an obscene amount of money that can cause so much unhappiness.
Due to the size of prize it can weigh heavily on a person or couple with so many decisions to be made on so much potential luxury. But if the quantum was smaller, then life could still be better, but probably more manageable.
Headline-grabbing sums of money may be ideal for Camelot, but I’m not convinced that dumping such vast wealth on mere mortals is a good idea. Self-made millionaires and billionaires have grown their wealth steadily and know how to manage these cash piles, while living “normal” lives.
They can cope with the pressures of such wealth and have years of experience in handling it. But the lottery winner is not used to big money, especially when it comes so fast, although there is plenty of good advice out there to help.
I do wish the new multi-millionaires all the success and happiness in the world with their new prize. But in a perfect world, it would be better to spread the pot over several winners, where a couple of million pounds would be life-changing for so many, but perhaps not such a burden. What say you?
Jim Duffy MBE, Create Special.