Advice for Lottery Winners in Canada
You may have read countless articles online that outline what you should and should not do when winning a massive lottery jackpot. All this advice is generally pretty solid (well, some of it) and can help you get a sound footing in learning how to manage your unexpected windfall. Unfortunately, however, not all of this advice applies to everyone around the world. In this article, we will look at some advice for lottery winners in Canada to see how you can ensure that you (and your fortune) are protected.
As mentioned above, there is advice that is relevant to lottery winners regardless of their physical location on the planet. This general advice not only helps you navigate the uncertain waters of claiming a massive lottery win but also ensures that you will know how to handle the money when you receive it. So, we are going to first look at five of these simple things that you can do to ensure that you do not become another victim of the dreaded “lottery curse”.
- Protect your ticket (and yourself): The most important thing to do when realising that you have won the lottery is to protect your ticket. This includes immediately signing the back of the ticket to claim it as your own and to put it in a safe place until you are ready to come forward and claim your prize. While doing this, make sure that you are also doing all you can to keep yourself just as safe. $50 million Lotto Max winner Randall Rush recalls that when hearing his ticket was a jackpot winner from the cashier at the store where he was validating his ticket he locked the front door of the store and closed the sign in the window to closed—just to ensure that he was not disturbed and was safe.
- Slow down and take stock: This is probably the most repeated advice that new lottery winners will hear—but also one of the most important. Almost all experts (and previous lottery winners) agree that the best thing to do after realising that you have won is to take a few days or even weeks or months off. Place your winning ticket in a 100% safe place (like a safety deposit box) and continue your life as usual so that you can process your win before you come forward to claim it. This will help you feel more grounded and prepared when receiving your winnings.
- Keep your mouth shut: This may seem like an obvious thing but may be harder to do than you realise. One of the most important things to do after winning your jackpot is keeping quiet about it. There have been many instances in history of lottery players being scammed or even killed for their winnings. While this silence does not usually extend to direct family members, try and keep your win under wraps for as long as possible.
- Seek professional advice: Reading advice for what to do online is indeed a great place to start just after your win. However, it is always best to seek professional and accredited advice from the right people. This includes a lawyer and a financial advisor. Between these two professionals, you should be able to be confident in claiming your prize and knowing what to do with it.
- Get a plan in place: It is essential to have an idea of what you are going to do before claiming your lottery winnings. This plan will allow you to feel comfortable knowing that your money is not just going to sit around and will also bring some perspective to what the implications of your massive win will be. In fact, this step is so important that it is often recommended not even to collect your winnings until you have a plan in place first.
The Extras—Just for Ol’ Canada
While these basics offer a great foundation of the steps to follow when winning the lottery, there are a few things that they do not cover. These extras mentioned below, which are based on advice from industry experts and previous winners, are specific to Canadian winners who are looking for ways to ensure that they remain sane through the process of claiming their winnings.
- Contact an organisation to help you claim: Canada is home to several companies that exist to assist lottery winners in claiming their jackpots. Companies like this Jackpot Lawyer are able to help you with all the legalities of your win and help set you up with lawyers and financial advisors to help you. Contacting a company like this will not only help you not have to walk the claims road alone but will also provide you with invaluable resources that may stop you from fulfilling the lottery curse that so many other lottery winners fall into.
- See if you can remain anonymous: Staying anonymous after winning the lottery in Canada is not an easy task. In fact, it is downright difficult. However, there are numerous advantages to staying under the radar after winning the lottery. Therefore, it is best to get some legal advice as to whether or not you will be able to remain anonymous when claiming your prize. If you are unable to, you will definitely be in the spotlight after coming forward—especially if you won a big prize—so you’ll need some advice on how to navigate that as well.
- Consider Canadian tax laws: While this is something that you will probably need to think about regardless of where you are located, always keep in mind that there may be tax applied to your win. While lottery winnings are not generally taxable in Canada, any interest earned on winnings is. Therefore, always ensure that you are aware of any possible future tax implications that your win (or your plans for your winnings) could have.
- Don’t change drastically: According to Tim Cestnick—CEO of Our Family Office and a financial planner by profession—one of the most important things to realise when winning the lottery is that the winnings may not go as far as you may think. He explains that one million dollars is not what it was 20, 30, or 40 years ago and that situations in which you may have previously needed $2 million, you may now need $4 million. Therefore, it is essential not to make any significant changes that will quickly and irrevocably reduce your capital amount.
While most of the advice for lottery winners in Canada may overlap the general advice that all winners should follow for the best chance of success, some things are unique to the land up North. These things, when combined with the standard advice given to lottery players, should help you have a secure foothold in how to deal with your new massive jackpot win from any of Canada’s great lotteries.