Don't misspend your millions, have a financial plan for your lump sum payout

Money in huge amounts can be tempting, leading one to careless spending.
Money in huge amounts can be tempting, leading one to careless spending.

Now and again we hear about people who, by luck or design, get their hands on huge lump sums of cash.

This fortune, which usually turns a person into an instant millionaire, could come in the form of an inheritance, Lotto winnings or the payout from a pension fund, among others.

As there are people with either awesome or awful financial habits, some of those who become instant millionaires preserve their cash and do well in life, while others on the opposite end squander the cash on useless things.

I know a few people who turned their lives around after hitting the lottery jackpot.

I saw them using their winnings to turn their houses into mansions while also rewarding themselves with cars costing hundreds and thousands of rands.

What I admired most about these individuals is that they did not change their lifestyles radically, which allowed them to keep their expenses more or less the same as before they became multi-millionaires.

However, there are cases in which people have won large sums like R50-million but have blown the money in less than 10 years.

Recently, a distraught man called into a radio station and narrated on air how he became big-headed after winning close to R40-million, ignoring counsel from family members and financial advisers on how not to be wasteful with his new-found wealth.

The man told bitterly how after hitting the jackpot he acquired expensive German cars, rented apartments in affluent suburbs, stayed in lavish hotels and partied up a storm with famous people. He bought a vacant stand for his family, built a foundation but failed to complete building the house.

The man now has no house of his own, he is dirt poor and squatting at his friend's house.

Unfortunately, there is no happy ending in his story because, eight years down the line, the riches have gone down the drain and the hangers-on are now avoiding him like he has contracted ebola.

His story, which is not unique, sounds like that of Mandla Mthembu, the former husband of Khanyi Mbau, who became broke after winning more than R80-million in court. He spent it on expensive whiskies, Italian sports cars and rented an apartment at a staggering R100000 a month. If you have never hit the lottery jackpot or benefited from a wealthy inheritance, this does not mean it will not happen.

Ester Ochse, a financial advisory product specialist at FNB, says if you receive a windfall you must resist the urge to use the money and do your best to keep this a secret.

"It's amazing how people suddenly want to be part of your best friend circle once they find out about your [windfall].

"Rather wait to get a full financial plan from a financial adviser which will help you ascertain where your money should be invested.

"Understand the implications of your inheritance: This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will put you on the path of wealth creation.

"Research and understanding on how and when to use your inheritance is an important initial step in this process," Ochse says.

She advises that you refrain from resigning from your job, as money doesn't last forever.

"For example, if you draw an income of R30000 a month from R2.5-million [windfall] you could run out of money in 10 years, which is not ideal nor a good place to be."

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