Nurse explains just how the lottery changed her life
By Kate Northrop
After winning a record-breaking $107 million (US$79.6 million) in January 2019, an Australian nurse proclaimed that she would be returning to work the next day, and she has since kept her promise.
Humble, hardworking, and down-to-earth, the historic winner who won the country's largest prize ever awarded to an individual came forward to offer advice to future lottery winners, as well as explain just how the lottery has changed her life and what she spends her money on.
When she hit multi-millionaire status overnight, she swore she would return to work the very next day.
"I don't know why people were so shocked," the anonymous player told The Lott. "I'm still working, and my husband is also working. We both love our jobs."
Besides the love of the job, there was sound reasoning behind the decision to return to work. For future lottery winners of massive proportions, she explained that maintaining normalcy is a key factor in dealing with such a huge win.
"My advice is, if it's possible and you can stand it, wake up the next morning and go to work," she said. "In the beginning, it's important to go about your usual day-to-day life while you really think about things. It gives you normality, and it allows the news to slowly sink in."
While her advice is completely sound and reasonable, she emphasized that it's best to seek financial help from professionals as soon as possible.
"Run, don't walk, to a really good financial advisor," the winner urged. "It takes two weeks for the prize money to come through. I used those two weeks to engage a financial advisor who I really trusted."
Since relationships among family and friends are different for everybody, she also offered some advice that can be true for anyone — don't rush to tell people about the win.
"Take some time to think about who you might tell before you start sharing the news with your family and friend, and let the story get out of the headlines first," she recommended. "If this news affects relationships in a negative way, then it's probably time for that relationship to end anyway, and that's just natural."
Thankfully, the mother had a positive experience when she finally came clean to family and friends about winning a massive amount of money.
"Honestly, everyone we told was in tears — genuine, happy tears!" she recalled. "I don't think one person didn't have a little cry. Everyone was so overwhelmingly happy and excited for us!"
She did, however, say one thing that possibly deterred people in her circle from asking for money. Either that, or she has incredibly honest relationships with those around her.
"No one ever asked me for money, not one person," she remarked. "I told people it had been locked away."
So how has her life changed since winning a $107 million jackpot? Surprisingly, not much is different, except now she upgrades from cheap chardonnay and regularly buys fresh flowers for her home. She's also quite the bookworm and admits that it's a great feeling to be able to go into a bookshop and buy whichever book she wants.
"It's things like that that I don't take for granted," she said.
She and her husband don't splurge, they continue to clean the house and do the grocery shopping, but there is one household task that she didn't mind giving up.
"I've never been one for ironing," the winner quipped. "Now I do have someone who does the ironing for me, and that's invaluable."
Of course, she and her husband did what most sensible lottery winners do — planning a vacation and buying a family home.
"That's something that I've always dreamt of, and every time I walk into my beautiful home is a 'pinch-me' moment," she gushed. "And having the ability to travel with the children is incredible. We never thought we'd be able to afford that. It was always out of reach for us, so to have those memories is priceless."
While she is still not one for big luxuries and huge splurges, there is one way of putting the money to good use that she can absolutely get behind.
"We have already made some really important donations, and we're always thinking a lot about what we want to support next," the Sydney nurse said. "We watch the news, and we read the papers, and we literally keep a notebook of causes we know we want to help on a grassroots level."
While not much has changed in her day-to-day life, having millions in her bank account has given her a fresh, unique perspective on acquiring a great deal of wealth.
"In those weeks after our win, I walked down the street, and I knew that just about every second person bought a ticket into the draw, and I know that I won their $10 or $15, and that really resonated with me," the lucky player said thoughtfully. "Paying it forward is really important to us because if you change one person's life, you have the potential to change the whole community."
Lottery players wondering what steps they should take after winning the lottery should check out Lottery Post's instructive video, What happens when you win the lottery?