UK Lotto Winners Roger and Lara Griffiths
So few of us who play the lottery ever get to actually manage the millions of dollars we all hope we one day will win. Of course, that doesn’t mean we lack the responsibility to utilise our resources, but the excitement of being rich can be overwhelming for many people. Take UK lotto winners Roger and Lara Griffiths for example. Though the two were fairly responsible with their finances before they won big, winning the lottery proved to be too much for the couple.
A Life-Changing Win
West Yorkshire residents Roger and Lara Griffiths were fairly well off before their lives changed. As two college-educated working-class individuals, they were certainly comfortable in the lives they’d created for their family. Roger worked as an IT technician and was extremely successful in his field, while Lara worked as a devoted educator. Combined, the two brought in nearly £80,000—a fairly decent income for any UK couple.
Since buying lottery tickets was routine for the duo, Roger wasn’t expecting much when he purchased one in October 2005. He was realistic about their chances of winning the lottery, and more than anything, playing was just a way to take a break from the monotony of their daily lives. Surprisingly, this time was different—because Roger was holding the key to £1.83 million (US$2.76 million).
When the National Lottery announced the winning numbers, Roger and Lara’s reactions were of course ones of pure excitement. Their immediate reaction was to quit their jobs and start planning out their purchases. After all, they did have nearly £2 million sitting in their bank account—what could possibly go wrong?
The family celebrated their win by purchasing a bottle of champagne and ordering in from a local Indian restaurant.
How Did Roger and Lara Spend Their Winnings?
Impulsively, the couple immediately began to burn through their awarded money. Without consulting any lawyers or financial advisors, Roger and Lara were ready to give up their lives of simplicity. The first thing was first, though: they wanted nothing more than a new nice car. Modesty was a thing of the past for these local celebrities, as they immediately purchased a Porsche—a notoriously expensive sports car. They then planned an expensive trip to Dubai, where they’d stay at a five-star hotel.
Next, they focused on getting a new home. The two got rid of the house their family had lived in for years when they were invited as special guests to participate in a UK house-hunting show called “Location, Location, Location.” Their favourite location was a former barn turned lavish. It was a million-dollar property, and the two spent a combined £43,000 refurbishing and furnishing the home.
After a while, it became clear that the couple had overestimated their wealth. They were overspending constantly and going on vacations they would one day be no longer able to afford. They were also spending thousands on body modifications, including tattoos and plastic surgery. Likewise, Lara was constantly going on expensive shopping sprees where she’d specifically purchase designer brands.
Perhaps their most responsible decision was sending their daughters to a private school, but even then, the cost was too much. In fact, members of the Royal Family as well as celebrity children attended the educational facility, which speaks volumes as to what the tuition costs would be over the long term.
Eventually, Roger decided to use his money responsibly by investing it into a successful business. He purchased a beauty parlour in Northern England, which brought in a steady cash flow from month to month. Unfortunately, when the business started to fail, they continued putting money into it in hopes that they could revive its success. Had they not continued their overspending, it’s likely the couple would still be comfortable today.
Instead, Roger later started a band and shelled out thousands when he arranged for the band to stay at a fancy hotel. Though this gave him hope that they’d be able to pull a few gigs to ensure their success, the cost of the band was too much, as they’d hired an expensive publicist and spent way more than Roger had planned on recording a single (£25,000). Unsurprisingly, the band flopped when only 600 copies of their single sold.
By the time all was said and done, the couple had burned through the entirety of their winnings. They were left with £7 to their name—a problem they never faced even when they were employed. As one can expect, this eventually destroyed Roger and Lara’s marriage.
Lives in Ruins
In 2011, Roger and Lara made the tabloids when their marriage of 14 years crumbled—something that is unfortunately common among lottery winners who are married or planning to marry. At this point, they still had some of the expensive items they’d purchased after their win despite being broke otherwise. After Lara found evidence that her husband was having an affair, they decided to separate. Roger wasn’t going to let that get him down, though. He chose to speed off in the Porsche and never look back. Unfortunately, after their costly home was eventually destroyed in a fire, they had to sell off their expensive belongings. They were effectively left with practically nothing.
Where Are They Now?
After the onslaught of publicity stunts, Roger and Lara were eventually no longer big news. Though they both suffered the consequences of their actions, they managed to find happiness years later. Roger married his new partner, while Lara eventually brought another man into her life. Since then, they’ve disappeared from the media.
Though the story of Roger and Lara is unique in its own way, it isn’t uncommon for lottery winners to blow their winnings. The story of Michael Carroll is a perfect example, as he very publicly ruined his life after his big win and ended up in the exact same position he was in before he won the lottery.
If you’re lucky enough to win the lottery, it’s important you don’t make the same mistakes as many others have. If you can, don’t publicise your winnings, and reduce your social media presence as much as possible. In addition, immediately seek out guidance from lawyers and financial advisors to ensure your wealth can last. A little bit of responsibility goes a long way.