Pattie Lovett-Reid: Advice for the $70M lottery jackpot winner

A Lotto Max ticket is seen in this undated file photo.

Lotto Max draw is the largest prize pool in Canadian lottery history with a projected jackpot of $70 million, as well as an estimated 70 Maxmillion prizes worth $1 million each.

Let's be clear: that is a lot of money. But let's be even clearer: the odds are not stacked in your favour. It is about a one-in-a-33-million chance you are holding the lucky ticket. But I'm an optimistic person, and let's say you win and win big. It could happen. Maybe it's the $70 million or it is $1 million, or even a large windfall. Either way it could be life-altering.

What should you do?

Stop take a minute and breathe and immediately validate your winnings. Don't say a word to anyone and remain silent until you sort out the claim.

Depending on the size of the windfall, it is fair to expect family and friends to come calling along with requests for donations from charities you may or may not be aligned with.

I'm not saying you shouldn't share some of your winnings nor do I think you shouldn't splurge a little. Because I think there is room for both.

What I would recommend is you reach out to a trusted financial adviser, accountant or lawyer to help you develop a plan. A financial plan that is aligned to your new financial situation.

The fundamentals never change regardless of your new net worth:

  1. Live below your means even if your means are now larger
  2. Accept no one will ever care more about your money than you
  3. Don't abdicate your financial life or decision-making to anyone
  4. Develop a financial plan, stick to the plan and tweak the plan as life dictates

We have all heard stories of past winners who spent as if there was no tomorrow. Rich one day and poor the next. That doesn't have to happen to you if you have a plan in place.

Once the plan is in place be very clear on how much discretionary spending you will have, how much you will save and how much you will give. Think of this like a three-legged stool. If one leg is off you will be out of balance in more ways than one.

Your financial life is all about balance.

Now go out and celebrate your winnings … responsibly.