5. Do not let your debt and existing obligations remain in place.
If you suddenly become filthy rich, get rid of your old financial obligations and debts immediately. If you feel like “I’m rich and don’t have to pay anymore,” you are already deep into the path of dooming yourself. Whether you take the lump sum or the annuity option, if you have a single penny of debt in the immediate future and distant future, then something is seriously wrong. For that matter, you should not have a single debt ever again. One lottery winner in California was reportedly strapped with debt from property purchases.
If you manage to go broke down the road and still have a mortgage, car payments, student loans, credit card debt and personal bills, all your friends and family members should get to spank or ridicule you every day for the rest of your life.
6. Do not go out and live the big life way too big.
Temptation to keep buying or accumulating can wipe you out. If you go from living a simple life to instantly having the wherewithal to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) per week, what do you think happens to your expectations in life ahead? Chances are high that you will want more of the same.
If you start gambling in Las Vegas and are not happy until you are gambling with hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) per play, you are dooming yourself. Now just wait until the real con men find you. Taking you and your favorite 500 people on a luxury cruise around the world can become very expensive, very fast. Having an entourage generally only works for people who keep making more and more money — and they usually end up broke for that cost.
7. Do not run out and buy everything for everyone, not even for yourself!
Everyone probably has a list of things they would love to own. Buying nice things is fun. It can even create a rush for some people. Imagine getting to buy whatever your imagination can think of. Now take a breath for a second.
Society and the endless commercials trick the public into thinking they need to own endless numbers of things. It’s just stuff! Do not go out and buy dozens of cars. Do not go buy multiple houses. Do not run out and keep buying things for friends and family members (nor for yourself). This will put you on a bad path if you do not avoid the impulse buying. Do you really want to be your friends and family personal welfare department?
If you start buying everything for everyone, chances are high that they might expect that to last forever. The other end of the story is that you do not have to be a cheapskate either. Still, after hearing a real-life personal story of one lucky winner buying more than 30 cars and multiple houses in three months, it is just crazy.
8. Do not think that budgets are just for the poor and middle class.
It may seem silly on the surface that you might need a budget and might need to consider limitations. The harsh reality is that creating and actually living on a budget are not just tasks for the poor and the middle class. The very wealthy, at least those who stay that way, know that even a vast sum of money can vaporize. Major lottery winners generally become wealthier in an instant than everyone they know combined. This also goes back to having advisors and being prudent, but at the end of the day you do still have a finite sum of money. Chances are very high that you will make some serious purchases and your lifestyle will be changed forever.
Without setting limits for yourself and for what you do with others is a recipe for disaster. Again, many lottery winners go broke. If they went broke in a very short time, what do you think the reflection about wishing for a proper budget would be? In short: Do not think you don’t need a budget!
9. Do not become the business backer for your friends and family.
If you knew little about money or finance yesterday, what makes you think you will understand venture capital or merchant banking now? It may sound powerful and enticing. Do not fall into this trap. One common theme that has come up with lottery winners who suddenly get vast sums of cash is that their friends and family start pitching them on endless business ideas. Sure, some will sound great and some will sound crazy. This could expose you to more than just a loss. You could end up with endless liabilities in some cases.
If someone has no knowledge of a particular business and does not know what it takes to actually run a business, will they do better because a lottery winner who lucked into vast wealth gave them money to start it? If your answer is yes, you seriously need to protect yourself (from yourself).