This article originally published in The Northern Daily Leader on 15 October 2011.
We recently had reason to drive from Tamworth to Rockhampton and back – just over a thousand kilometres with a nine month-old baby on the back seat, plenty of time to learn every Wiggles song off by heart. Long trips can be a drag and besides endless games of I-spy or ‘twenty questions’, one way we occasionally while away the hours is a deep discussion about what we would do if we won the lottery (ok, not quite helping to advance the cause of humankind or world peace, but it can kill a few hours on the road). Would we want to buy that small farmhouse in Tuscany or the beach house at Sawtell? What about that small, red and fast sports car, or the 80 inch fl at screen TV? Shoes and clothes are also popular with certain members of our household, while I’m sure my wife wants a fully kitted-out shed and workshop.
A second dilemma is who to tell and how much to give away. Family would presumably expect to be the beneficiaries of some of your good fortune, but it’s not always a straight forward decision. Have I forgiven my sister for telling me that socks had left and right feet, and laughing when I spent ages trying to figure out which was which? What about my brother-in-law, who once confided over a few beers that he had no plans to share any lottery win which might come his way? Perhaps dealing with a windfall is not as straightforward as you would think. Unfortunately, your real chances of winning the lottery are slim – winning Powerball is a 1 in 55 million long shot. However your odds of having to deal with a windfall of a different sort are quite high – every one of us has money in superannuation and many of us will need to decide what to do with our lifetime savings when we retire. While not quite on the same scale as a lottery win, you may still be required to decide what to do with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Don’t do what many Australians do, which is to ask their dentist, neighbour or drinking buddy at the pub for their opinion. Make sure you get professional advice from someone you like and trust. You may only have one opportunity to get it right. And Lauren, if you’re reading this,I finally figured out that nobody can see through your shoes, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve got your left and right socks mixed up.