Regardless of the state of the economy, something you can always count on is snaking queues outside Singapore Pools outlets in the lead-up to TOTO jackpot draws.
With the possibility to win life-changing amounts of money, can we really be surprised? From 2014, the size of the 20 largest TOTO winning shares range between $9.7 million to $1.9 million.
While we know that playing TOTO is statistically unfavourable, we can at least understand and sympathise with the psychology that drives pundits to hand over their hard-earned money to Singapore Pools.
Yes, it is unlikely it is that you will end up winning one of the big prizes. But since there is a greater than 0% chance you will win if you buy a TOTO ticket, we’ve put together this article to guide you step-by-step on what you should do exactly after winning.
The same principles outlined in this article apply to receiving an inheritance, though the quantum will probably be smaller, unless perhaps you’re related to some of Singapore’s richest individuals.
Thinking About What To Do With A Windfall Is Valuable
In the course of writing this article, I found that it can be very valuable to seriously contemplate what I would do with a large windfall – seriously being the key word here.
It is easy to fantasise what we’ll do if we have lots of money – thinking about the places we’ll go, the stuff we’ll buy, and the things we’ll stop doing.
But contemplating how we’ll integrate a large amount of money into our existing life and wondering how to make the most out of it requires deep soul-searching and examination of who and what we value, which can yield interesting insights about ourselves. This alone is a win, even if we don’t ever win a TOTO draw.
Claim Your TOTO Prize Winnings
It might sound silly to state, but the first thing you need to do is to make your way to claim your prize money from Singapore Pools as soon as possible.
Winnings above $5,000 will be disbursed as cheques at the Singapore Pools Main Branch (210 Middle Road, Singapore 188994) from Mondays to Fridays, 8am – 4.30pm, excluding Public Holidays.
You’ll need to go down in person with your winning TOTO ticket as well as your identification (NRIC for Singaporeans and PRs or passport for foreigners) that matches your bank records.
All unclaimed prizes are deemed to have been forfeited and channelled to donations and charitable grants managed by the Tote Board after 180 days from the draw date (including weekends and public holidays).
You’ll be glad to know that in Singapore, lottery winnings are tax-exempt, so you’ll get to keep every dollar of your prize money.
Congratulations You’re Rich – But You’re Not THAT Rich
Millions of dollars in cash might be the most you’ve ever handled – and that’s probably true for the majority of us. But it is important to keep yourself grounded.
The majority of people with millions or tens of millions of dollars, including entrepreneurs, movie stars, and savvy investors, don’t just quit their jobs and uproot from society, thinking they’ve made it in life.
To put things into context, even if you took home a cool $4 million at age 40, you’ll need your money to last for about 50 years to be on the safe side. If you don’t properly manage and invest your money and just gradually draw down that sum, you’ll have this amount each month:
$4 million / 50 years / 12 months = $6,667
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to have $6,667 each month for the next 50 years of my life – but that isn’t so much money that I can spend frivolously, like buying a sportscar and travelling around the world in first-class on a whim.
There are plenty of heart-breaking stories you can read online about lottery winners who squandered their newfound wealth and were back to living from paycheque-to-paycheque shortly after they won huge amounts of money.
Proper budgeting and investing of your finite wealth is crucial in helping preserve it for years and decades to come. Towards this end, cultivating the right attitude and aptitude for managing money is important, whether you have $1,000, $1 million, or $10 million.
Wealth Preservation VS Improving Your Standard Of Living
After the euphoria of winning passes and you’ve adjusted to the reality, it is time to sit down and begin planning in earnest.
An obvious first step would be to clear high-interest debts, since they would only eat into your finances over time.
You can then decide what to do with lower-interest loans, such as your home mortgage or home equity loans: you can either be debt-free, or if you’re confident of earning more from investments than the interest you’re incurring, you could take your time to pay them off.
Once you’ve decided what you wish to do with your loans, you should make an appointment with your trusted financial adviser to get suggestions on how to best deploy your considerable funds to achieve your goals in life.
Whenever you have a significant change in life circumstances, it is usually a good time to review your insurance and investment portfolio, and it would be especially beneficial for you to speak with someone who has experience serving individuals with a higher net worth, since you now have access to investment products and services that were closed to you previously.
Wealth banking, accredited investor investments, and products with a high minimum investment are some of the new options that are now available to you.
Opportunities Come Along With Opportunity Costs
Choosing to do nothing, and letting your windfall sit quietly in your (regular) bank account, is probably the second worst thing you can do with your money. The worst being squandering it quickly.
By not doing anything with your money, you’re incurring opportunity cost. That money could be earning interest for you, invested to capture growth opportunities and earning dividends, or put to good use by starting or supporting businesses.
Think about what your short-term and long-term needs and aspirations are, and structure your portfolio accordingly to get your desired level of liquidity and long-term capital appreciation.
Spending More Money Doesn’t Equate To A Happier, More Fulfilling Life
It is worth noting that many millionaires and even billionaires still choose to work, despite their riches. Even if you can drawdown your windfall at a sustainable rate for the rest of your life, you might still choose to work.
You don’t have to work, but as we’ve noted in the past, we can derive great satisfaction in work, whether that’s salaried work, volunteer work, or as a self-employed individual. Work also gives us structure in our lives, social interaction opportunities, and a way to keep our bodies and minds active – all of which can’t be bought with money.
After a certain point, spending (or accumulating) more money won’t bring us more joy or satisfaction, and we’ll probably need to seek out something deeper.
With A Great Windfall, Comes Great Responsibilities
How would you feel if you found out that someone close to you had lots of money, but wasted it away, and are now coming to you to borrow money that you had to scrimp and save for? You probably think that it serves that person right for not cherishing what they had.
With great financial resources, come great responsibilities. If you ever have the good fortune to receive a windfall, do spend it wisely and benefit the greatest number of people.
As you queue up to buy your next lottery ticket, we hope you’ll remember some of the pointers in this article even as you dream and envision yourself with the winning numbers. Good luck!