Lottery winner Sandra Hayes has no comments on whether you should sell your lottery payments for a lump sum or keep the annuity payments once you chose that option - simply because she herself have never had that experience.
But when it comes to sharing advice on how to manage your lump sum and budget wisely, she does have a lot to say.
"my advice to those who like extravagant things in life is to save for them," she told me in an interview that was largely conducted by email. "Believe it or not, I do that. Have patience and do not live above your means."
Also, I would appreciate very much your comments. So whether you like this interview, have something to say, or are yourself a lottery winner and want to sell your lottery payments for cash, I'd like to hear your comments. Please share your thoughts and comments here.
As a millionaire, who won the Powerbell lottery 8 years ago, splitting the pot with 12 co-workers at her work as a social services employee in the state of Missouri, she is still shopping at discount stores and looking for deals.
"Even as a lottery winner, I still love a good deal when out shopping," says Sandra. "Whatever store I am window shopping at, or making a purchase, I am always looking for a deal.".
Here's the interview...
Contrary to what financial experts often advise, you have decided to take the lottery lump sum instead of periodic payments, just as 12 other winners who split the pot with you did...
Sandra: actually, when I and 12 of my coworkers hit the jackpot back in 2006, most of us took the lump sum pay out; however, one winner decided to a lump sum payoff with half of his winnings and the other half in annual payments.
Just like other winners do, I decided to take the lump sum. From my understanding, there are states where you have to take annual payments, but the State of Missouri gives you an option.
As far as I am concerned, during that time of my winning the lottery, the annual payments were not an option for me.
Would you still advise to do so?
I would advise people who receive a windfall of money to take the lump sum payout; your money can be managed if you have discipline and the right financial manager by your side.
Would you suggest those who did selected the payments option and later want to cash out the payments, to actually do so?
Editor's Note: Sandra really has no advice on whether you should sell your lottery payments for a lump sum or not Per Se, since she herself did not take the payments option to begin with; nevertheless, her advice throughout the interview for managing a windfall is as relevant to lottery payments sellers as well.
Sandra: I really have no comment regarding the selling of some payments for a lump sum, because I have not had that experience.
I have no comment other than I can only imagine that paying of the taxes on that lump sum money may not be pretty.
At age 46, as the third youngest of the 13 employees who pitched in the pool and split the winning, you were lucky to retire early and afford what you couldn't before...
Sandra corrects me:
Sandra: actually I was the second youngest among the 13 employees who pitched in the pool and split the pot.
Yes, I did retire at the age of 46 and yes I was able to buy things I could only dream about before.
In the early days, you have spent money to enjoy many things you couldn't have dreamed of before, paying off debts, buying a new home and new cars for you and family, partying and going on vacations...
Sandra: and yes, in my early days I did pay off debts, provide things for my children, family, and others. And yes, I enjoyed doing the things I could not do before winning the lottery; for example, the pleasure of going on vacations with my family.
From a time-perspective, looking back now 8 years later, do you think you would still do the same, or today you would have spent the money differently? What would you do different today if given the opportunity?
Sandra: my perspective 8 years later after winning the lottery, I would say, I would have spent the money differently. What would I do differently? I would have made different investment decisions.
As I grew in knowledge, I realized I did not need three cars or such a large house because of all the extra responsibilities that came with them.
However, I do not regret any of it because I was allowed the opportunity to live my dream.
As someone who had won the lottery, you are still shopping at discount stores, looking for good deals and savings...
Sandra: yes, even as a lottery winner I still love a good deal when out shopping.
Isn't it a bit overdone when you can afford buying at regular prices?
Sandra: as I stated above, whatever store I am window shopping at, or making a purchase, I am always looking for a deal.
Sometimes I will pay a ridiculous price, but that is because I have unique taste.
I'm sure there's reason to it, something you would be happy to teach as well to others?
Sandra: my advice to those who like extravagant things in life is to save for them. Believe it or not, I do that. Have patience and do not live above your means.
Many lottery winners squander their lump sum money in a short time, but you were different. What helped you manage your money well?
What's the secret of good budgeting for lottery winners that could keep them from wasting / blowing it up too soon?
Sandra: one way to manage your money in such a way that you won’t squander it or blow it up too soon is to have a good financial adviser, accountant, and attorney in your life.
Note: Sandra's advice to lottery winners (as said, her advice is as relevant also if you choose to sell your lottery payments for a lump sum, even though she personally does not relate to it):
Invested well, a 6-7 million lottery would be worth many millions more 8 years later. Do you think of yourself as having been successful in this regard?
Sandra admits having misunderstood some things along the way but regaining ground after learning from experience:
Sandra: well, I honestly feel I could have been more successful if I had understood investing when I first invested my money, and understood that the government really taxes you in the beginning.
So, at times during my 8 years I took some loss, but after I made a few moves towards different investments, I see myself growing again.
Following your winning the lottery, you were able enjoy leisure and quality time with your children...
Sandra: yes, following my winning the lottery, I made it a practice to do more things with my family. These things include family vacations, going out for dinner, or to the movies.
What about the overwhelming emotions that come together with a sudden gain of wealth?
Sandra: the overwhelming emotions that I dealt with were when people felt they were entitled to my money.
They would try to make other people turn on me behind my back, but yet tried to make me feel guilty because I had some money and they did not.
How did you manage to remain calm and maintain your sanity in light of all the changes and new challenges personally, socially and emotionally as a result of winning the lottery?
Sandra: besides many prayers, the secret to keeping my sanity was the fact I had a good support system, [people] that were there for me.
Those people, who were a part of my life, could see through all the bull crap and they gave me wise advice that molded me.
Were there moments of guilt, anxiety, feelings of unhappiness that you had to deal with?
Sandra: at first I dealt with mixed feelings, but after a short time you become immune to people and you start thinking about yourself.
Even though Sandra had already won the lottery, she is not about to give up. She continues trying her luck and buying more lottery tickets.
As Sandra explains, she's doing so with a special purpose in mind: "why not support the lottery?"
After defying the odds and winning the powerball lottery, you're still not giving up, and you keep buying more lottery tickets. What makes you do it?
Sandra: yes, I still buy lottery tickets when the pot is large. I like playing the lottery. Why not support the lottery?
What, in your opinion, would be the best use a lottery winner could make of the lump sum money attained either by choosing it initially over an annuity, or by later cashing out periodic payments?
Paying off debts, helping family members, giving to charity, buying luxury goods, reinvesting?
Sandra reminds me she doesn't have the knowledge about selling lottery payments. Still, she has advice to offer:
Sandra: as I stated earlier, I do not know about selling future payments for a lump sum; but in my opinion, I would pay off my debts.
What was the most funny, curious, embarrassing episode you experienced following the winning of the lottery?
Sandra: The funniest, most curious and embarrassing episode that I have experienced in relation to winning the lottery was watching for the first time the reality show that I was a part of, named “Million Dollar Christmas.”
It was one thing to experience being filmed for a few weeks, but another experience to see the finished product.
At first, I did not like the show and felt betrayed by my sisters and my son. But you cannot believe everything you see on a reality show. I found that out first hand.
Is there something you refrained from discussing in the past and that you would feel easier to disclose nowadays, in regard to the lottery winning?
Sandra: the answer is yes. I held back and did not disclose certain things to the public, one of which is the different charities I have donated to. I feel some things people do not need to know.
Your book entitled How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life - Windfall: A Blessing or a Curse? implies there are 2 different ways to look at the same picture.
Obviously, to you personally the answer was the former: a blessing.
Do you still feel so now, or were there happier days following the lottery winning that are now part of the past?
Sandra: I definitely feel my lottery winning is a blessing. The blessing is always there, but you do not really enjoy it until after you go through the curse period.
The curse period is compared to going through a storm. After the storm ends, you get to enjoy the beauty of the sunshine. I have many happy days, especially when I get to travel.
Are you a lottery winner with the annuity payments options and now want to sell your lottery for a lump sum?
There are many horror stories of lottery winners who blew up their winnings too soon taking the lump sum instead of payments; you may as well face similar risk if you sell your lottery payments for a cash amount and are not very careful.
How do you protect yourself and your windfall? listen well to this single best tip on how to manage your lumpsum once you sell your lottery payments:
What final best piece of advice do you have to lottery winners who want to cash out their lottery payments for a lumpsum?
Sandra: My best advice to lottery winners is to live off a fixed monthly income, so you do not go broke.
You had plans to author a second book about yourself and your lottery winning and therein reveal more about the personal and emotional aspects of your life.
What happened to the plans? Will the book be published anytime soon?
Sandra: Yes, I have written my second book, but I have not published it yet.
The book is titled, “Through the Storm, My Life Before and After Winning the Lottery.” I will walk readers through my life by expanding on the personal and emotional aspects of my life.
What interesting topics will the new book cover. Could you mention any?
Sandra: [among the topics] that are included in my new book will be: Learn to say no without feeling guilty and do not take wooden nickels.
Thank you so much, Sandra, for the great interview that turn out to be a long and very interesting one. I highly appreciate your time and advice shared with us.
It will be of much use to lottery winners who choose the lump sum vs annuity options, as well as to those who chose the payments option first and then want to cash out the lottery payments for a lump sum.
It was a pleasure and I have learned a ton from you. Wishing you good luck with your further endeavors, including your upcoming new book.
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