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What to do If You Win the Lottery

What to Do If You Win the Lottery

Playing the lottery can be fun. You join other people for a chance to win the big jackpot prize, stand in line for minutes and pay for how many draws you will enter your combination. From a certain point of view, the lottery can change people’s lives by ruining them or uplifting them in very positive ways. The recent Powerball draw of $160m which three people won and a Sydney nurse’s $107.58m haul in 2019 are the biggest examples of major lottery wins in Australia.

What happens, though, if you win? Even though Australian lottery winnings are marked as tax-free income, how are you going to handle all that cash? We at UBOMI share your concern, and are here to help you navigate those potholes on the road. Here are a number of tips to ensure an eventual lottery win will be smooth and full of relief for you:

Stay calm

Do not be overwhelmed by emotion at the fact your numbers were drawn, especially if you were tuned in the night of the winning draw and had the anticipation build up as each number ball picked turned out to be yours. Take time to reflect on the win and breathe deeply to regain composure. Remember as well if you registered your phone number with the lotto operator; they are known to call within two days of the draw for official notification and claim instructions.

Secrecy is paramount

You must muster all the willpower not to announce your win by any method. Even when you get the official phone call notifying you of the win, you must restrain from obvious displays of joy. If you are planning to use the money to help your family, evaluate which of your family members can be discreetly set aside to talk about the win and be sworn to secrecy. 

Australia’s lotto games give winners the power to remain anonymous – take advantage of that. A certain comedian’s joke about success being relative actually meaning “the more success you have, the more relatives you have” may be true in the sense that people come up to you for help, even when you don’t know them or haven’t had contact in years. 

Secure the winning lottery ticket

Keep the ticket in a secure but easy to remember location. Take note that tickets are printed on paper that must not be exposed to water or high temperatures, let alone creased or folded. Your lotto operator could invalidate a ticket with signs of damage, even if it was the only winning ticket.

Claim mechanics

Before getting the money, familiarise yourself with the lotto operator’s prize claim procedures. One item to watch out for is the claim period; each state and territory will have their grace period after the draw to claim the prize. This will give you the time to plan your financial goals and security measures, plus wait for the brouhaha over the win to die down, even when it is announced that there are other people who had the same combination and claimed their share.

Stay at work

If you have a regular job at the time of the win and the lotto operator called you for official notification, stay focused on the work but try to schedule at least one day leave for “personal reasons.” This will give you abundant cover to head to the lotto operator’s local office to claim the prize. Do not be tempted to suddenly step down; some people may remember the recent draw and presume you were the winner.

Plan ahead

Start planning on what to do with the money. Think carefully and realistically about where the money can go and outline the steps to make it happen. Some finance experts with experience in handling lottery winners recommend that part of the planning must include where to invest the money and keep it growing to build generational wealth. Ever wanted to use part of the money for buying property or stocks? Capital for a new business? A secret trust fund for your children? It’s your call, mate!

Lump sum or annuity?

Lottery winners may opt to take a lump sum or annuity, but either option will carry their own mechanics and you must prepare on how to manage them.

Wipe out debts

If your jackpot is substantially large, it is an opportunity to settle your arrears faster. Review your existing loans or credit-cards’ payment terms to identify potential for increased repayments, then step up your payments wherever possible. If you have sufficient cash at hand to fully pay off a certain debt item, time it well to ensure nobody can connect the huge repayment to the lottery win.

Strategy about your lottery win

Although your lotto operator may dispense some financial advice upon presentation of the prize, without a formal management strategy, the sudden access to beaucoup cash can lead to wanton spending. You need to enlist the services of an accountant, an estate lawyer, and a financial adviser, to firmly guide you. However, you need to carefully scrutinise their background and reputation to ensure the relationship and work details are kept secret, even if you find a way to camouflage the lottery winnings as simply accessing a legitimate pile of cash but don’t know what to do with them. An accountant with tax computing skills will be critical if you earn interest from putting your winnings in the bank; the ATO rules the interest as taxable income. 


One of the best things to come out of winning the lottery is the opportunity to develop yourself. Some people you know may have advised you long before you made a bet to look into career/business development courses and attending reputable finance seminars, but you never had the money to invest in them. Setting aside part of your winnings for them may reap dividends down the road.

A budget app like UBOMI can actually address the possibility of windfalls like lottery jackpots. A few minutes of your time on the app enables you to keep track of the cash flow and figure out your next move. It will also help you manage the settlement of debts.

The odds of winning the lottery even by scoring just a few numbers out of the drawn combination are obviously astronomical. But with careful management of the earnings, you can find a way to make things work. 

Why not streamline your bills, finance, and subscription with UMONEY — your own personal command centre from UBOMI!

If you liked our “What to Do If You Win the Lottery” and find it useful, check our blogs regularly for more information to get updates on UBOMI’s budget app and expense tracker.