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There is one universal daydream that we have all had at some point – what would we do if we won the lottery? While some spend time at work dreaming of not having to go to meetings, clock in and out, or suffer the commute, others dream of other countries entirely. Winning the lottery to most people means opportunity and, at certain points in our life, we discover what we would like the opportunity to do if we had unlimited funds. But what are some of the most common things people would do if they won big money?

The first consideration with a huge windfall is about your current job. Would you keep it? Find one with reduced hours? Or give up the working life altogether? To some, a job is a vocation that has become a passion – which is why most studies since the 1980s show that people would keep working (80% according to Adobe statistics in 2016). Others would work through boredom, but might reduce hours, while some will retire completely. But they’re not retiring and living on the money. Some opt to invest in property to have a nest egg for when their windfall runs out, while others opt to go traveling, one of the biggest spends of lottery winners.  

Wanderlust is a symptom of winning the lottery, which explains why so many people book holidays, cruises, or just pack everything up and go traveling after a win. While five-star hotels are the fodder of most millionaire dreams, a UK study found that a large percentage of actual winners of huge sums of cash, spend the money on caravans.

A 2012 study found that lottery winners actually secure six people’s jobs each year due to their spending from their trips away and lavish spends on new cars and houses. Those who spend quickly after gaining large sums of money help keep the cash in circulation.

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Some people would be altruistic and give their winnings to family and friends, while many consider paying off their mortgages and ensuring they are set for a life without financial hardship. While some are just enough to pay off some of the mortgage, others might buy a nice holiday or a home improvement. Few people actually end up spending their lives living off their large windfalls.

As research in a Lottoland survey recently showed, the most popular amount that people professed they would gift to family members if they won big, was R56 million. Whereas 22% of the 1000+ people asked would choose to share nothing at all with their friends!

We’re not sure if the latter rang true for Britons Paul and Denise Hardware, but they decided to spend their R75 million effectively. They bought homes, investments, and paid for their son’s university degree, ensuring the family was set for life.

While for some, the daydream might become a reality, for many it is a nice way to pass the time. Of course, we’d all love to have an unlimited amount of money to spend – but would our ideas on what to do with it change once it becomes a reality? The only people who can confidently state how they would spend a big windfall are those who have been lucky enough to win one.

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