Lotto warning: 'friends can disappear quick'

Winning the lottery might seem like a dream come true, but a windfall can cause as many problems as it solves, warn financial advisors.

Co-owner of Milestone Financial Services Darren Laudenbach said an influx in funds could create all sorts of strains on relationships, as friends and family come out of the woodwork armed with expectations.

"The statistics around winning Lotto are ridiculous," he said.

"It's something like 90 per cent of winners after 12 months have no family, no friends and no money left."

The caution comes as four ticket holders, including a Canberra family and an 80-person syndicate from Victoria, won a share in the $111 million Oz Lotto jackpot drawn yesterday.

Mr Laudenbach said one of the worst things the winners could do was start making drastic changes, such as selling up and moving to a different neighbourhood.

"We have had a lotto winner in our time and we suggested they not make any radical changes as long as they can hold out," he said.

"There's a lot to think about, it creates a lot of problems."

As well as seeking advice, Mr Laudenbach said people coming into large amounts of money should undertake financial counselling.

"We call it neuro-finance - it's getting into their heads and figuring out what is important," he said.

"It's about trying to get their relationship with money right."

Last night's winners will have two weeks to absorb the news before collecting their quarter share of the jackpot.

Oz Lotto spokeswoman Zoe Knobel said winners would be encouraged to use the two weeks to seek professional financial help before travelling to Sydney to collect their enormous prize from the lottery headquarters.

There they will be invited into a plush 'Winner's Lounge', where they'll need to complete quite a lot of paperwork to claim their prize.

The winners won't be offered champagne to drink in the lounge, but they will be offered a bottle to take home.

Only the lucky few Australians who've won big themselves could probably understand what the two-week cooling off period will feel like for the four major prize winners.

Ms Knobel said it was important time to plan for the enormous opportunities awaiting them.

"It's a really good time to sit back, let the news sink back and plan for your future. We recommend all of the winners, regardless of the size of the prize, that they do seek financial advice about how they can use that advantage to potentially invest for the future.

"We like to see it not just change someone's life, but set them up for life."

Darren Laudenbach's three top tips for lottery winners:

1) Don't tell anyone.

2) Don't do anything for a month or two. Just sit and think.

3) Get some good advice from a team of professionals, including an accountant, lawyer and financial planner.


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