You may have heard that the Powerball Jackpot is now up to $550 million and growing. Lottery fever has taken over even those who don’t normally buy tickets as they wonder if they could be the lucky winner.
Millionaire winners are usually associated with the lottery, but did you know that there can be big winners in a game of Bingo?
Whether you are playing Bingo at the local hall or online, you do have the chance to win millions.
In fact, in 2008, a woman, Soraya Lowell, who lives in the U.K. and worked for minimum wage as a cleaner, hit the biggest Bingo jackpot ever in the world. She won the U.S. dollar equivalent of $2.4 million by playing Bingo! The 38 year old mom of four immediately gave half of her winnings to her 68 year old neighbor and bingo playing friend, Agnes O’Neill.
Lowell had helped to care for O’Neill, who was in ailing health, and the two played Bingo together. They always split their winnings when they played together, and Lowell insisted that this time was no different.
Lowell initially insisted that she would keep her minimum-wage cleaning job, but she retired from that job soon after. She and her husband bought an ice cream truck and worked that way for awhile.
She also insisted that she wouldn’t move to a larger house, but eventually she and her husband did.
Lowell seems to be the picture of early retirement success, but unfortunately, her story does not have a happy ending. Her friend, Agnes O’Neill, died just two months after Lowell gave her half of the winnings. Meanwhile, Lowell and her husband faced bankruptcy charges as recently as early 2012.
If you win it big some time, make your dreams of early retirement come true and avoid bankruptcy by:
1. Meeting with a financial planner. Immediately meet with a financial planner to discuss what to do with your windfall. Make a plan to invest the money and live off of the interest from the investments, not the jackpot winnings.
2. Don’t do anything with the money for the first 3 to 6 months. It will take this long for the shock to wear off so you can make lucid decisions.
3. Set aside a certain amount of money to blow. Determine how much of the money you will just blow on things like new houses, cars and boats. Too often jackpot winners continue to splurge until the money is gone.
4. Determine how much you will give to others. To be sure, people you have long since forgotten about will come visiting and looking for a donation. Determine ahead of time how much you will give to others.
While Soraya Lowell, the largest Bingo jackpot winner, doesn’t have a happy ending to her winning story, there are some lottery winners who have used the money wisely to enrich their own lives and others.
What would you do if you hit it big? Would you retire immediately or would you keep working?
photo credit: flickr daftgirly