We don't know about you, but we love reading stories about lottery winners - how they bought their tickets, realised they had a winner on their hands, claimed their jackpots and made fabulous plans for the future. Even though we obviously wish we had won ourselves, we're always so happy for each and every lottery winner, and their determination to change their lives for the better thanks to their new-found wealth.

Something that isn't quite as cheerful to read about though is what can happen to lottery winners who don't look after their money, or invest in sound financial advice. Sadly the urge to spend, rather than save, can often see lottery winners going from riches to rags, sometimes even worse off than they were before. While we don't celebrate these stories, we do take lessons from them, in what not to do with lottery jackpots and mega winnings.

Lottery winners go back to square one

Take the story of Callie Rogers, for instance. At just 16 years old, many thought Callie was too young to deal with the responsibility of having won £1.9 million in the UK National Lottery in 2003 - and unfortunately, they were right. After having two children and spending the rest on a spree of parties, holidays and lavish gifts, Callie raced through every penny of her winnings, and today works as a cleaning lady, with the threat of bankruptcy hanging over her head.

callie rogers

Or how about Vivian Nicholson, whose love for designer clothing saw her go from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel in record time? In 1961 Vivian won a small fortune on the football pools, but soon blew through every last bit of her £152,300 win thanks to her obsession with haute couture. These days Vivan is jobless, and a five-time divorcée to boot.

vivian nicholson

It's not just female lottery winners who have trouble curbing their urge to spend - male winners are just as guilty. Luke Pittard is one such example - a Welsh-born lottery winner who took home a £1.3 million jackpot in 2006, but soon ran through it all after paying for a holiday to the Canary Islands, a wedding, and a house. Just 18 months after becoming a millionaire, Pittard was reduced to taking a job at McDonald's, making burgers.

Some lottery winners even become victims of crime - like West Virginia building contractor Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr, who won $114 million after taxes with the Powerball lottery in 2002. Not only was Whittaker Jr targeted by thieves, who stole a total of $745,000 from him, he was dogged by bad decisions too, later being sued by an Atlantic City casino for writing bad cheques in the amount of $1.5 million. Four years later, Whittaker was broke, his multi-million dollar fortune reduced to nothing.

Make a plan for your lottery winnings today

But while these stories of irresponsible lottery winners can be difficult to read, they can be helpful too - because the common denominator between all of them is sound financial planning. Of course the urge to spend like a maniac is overwhelming when you have millions in the bank, but just as money can be won, it can be lost as well. That's why we urge all of our lottery fans to play with their hearts, but think with their heads.

If you've got your million-dollar plans in place though, there's no reason why you can't play, and play big! Just buy your lottery ticket online from, and put your financial adviser on speed dial - because you could soon be making the most lucrative call of your life!


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