NZ Lotto winners spend cash on fish 'n chips and mortgages

A Tauranga family who won $7.1m in February celebrated with fish and chips on the beach.

A Tauranga family who won $7.1m in February celebrated with fish and chips on the beach.

Kiwi Lotto winners are intent on keeping their lives the same despite having millions more in the bank - millions that could buy luxury holidays and fancy cars.

So far this year, 11 Kiwis have become instant millionaires thanks to Lotto. And this weekend $20m is up for grabs.

But once they received that giant cheque, they didn't reach for the computer to book first class tickets to Seychelles or Vegas.

Kiwis aren't ostentatious spenders, and won't tend to splurge on something like a Maserati.
SUPPLIED

Kiwis aren't ostentatious spenders, and won't tend to splurge on something like a Maserati.

Instead they celebrated with fish and chips on the beach, paying off the mortgage and giving to charity.

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So what is it that stops Kiwis buying that Maserati or Parisian shopping spree?

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Mindworks registered psychologist Sara Chatwin said the wisest Lotto recipients didn't dramatically change their lifestyles instantly.

A lot of winners had to "sit and mull over it".

While people were getting their head around their new means, they often addressed urgent issues like mortgages and outstanding bills.

Lotto Powerball winners spend their money helping family and on the family home.
Supplied

Lotto Powerball winners spend their money helping family and on the family home.

"New Zealand is not necessarily the body of excess.

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"In terms of international status, we wouldn't be as extravagant and out there."

And it's actually not that easy to spend that kind of money in New Zealand, she said.

"What do you do? Buy a Maserati and park up at the Sky City casino?"

Lotto spokeswoman Kirsten Robinson said New Zealand winners generally liked their lives and didn't want to change them dramatically.

"Winners here are really down-to-earth and sensible.

Most winners do go on holiday eventually, but we're talking Pacific Islands rather than worldwide trip.
SUPPLIED

Most winners do go on holiday eventually, but we're talking Pacific Islands rather than worldwide trip.

"It's a key part of who New Zealanders are."

Kiwis also liked to make their winnings last, she said.

Most put a chunk away in savings or investments and let the money work for them.

Most winners decide to keep their jobs - despite having the money to quit if they wanted.
Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Most winners decide to keep their jobs - despite having the money to quit if they wanted.

TALL POPPY SYNDROME

Personal finance commentator Mary Holm said New Zealanders' choice not to flash their cash came part-in-parcel with tall poppy syndrome.

"We're not such ostentatious spenders."

Lotto spokeswoman Kirsten Robinson says winners use the money to make their lives better, not different.
NZPA

Lotto spokeswoman Kirsten Robinson says winners use the money to make their lives better, not different.

There was also the chance of a large windfall causing relationship issues, Holm said.

Having a large amount of money would put you on unequal footing with friends and could end in resentment or jealousy.

The easiest way to ignore that was to keep the win under wraps, which meant not spending up large on goods and services, she said.

Registered psychologist Sara Chatwin said tales of woe discouraged winners from spending their money recklessly.
FRANCES OLIVER/SUPPLIED

Registered psychologist Sara Chatwin said tales of woe discouraged winners from spending their money recklessly.

Trevor Cooper from Te Kauwhata was the exception to the rule.

Unlike most Kiwi winners, Cooper went public with his $27 million win in 2012 and wasted no time in spending big bucks on his hobby - off-road buggies - and investing heavily in property.

WHAT ABOUT WORK?

While a middle-aged family with a mortgage couldn't retire on a $1m Lotto win, bigger winners with smart investments shouldn't have to drag themselves out of bed on Monday.

Trevor Cooper said nothing would change after a $27m Lotto win in 2012 but he didn't waste any time buying buggies and ...
PATRICK HAMILTON

Trevor Cooper said nothing would change after a $27m Lotto win in 2012 but he didn't waste any time buying buggies and property, including a $2.2m mansion.

But Chatwin and Robinson said people generally liked their jobs and didn't feel a need to quit.

Robinson said winners usually returned to work - generally without telling workmates of their winnings - then took an overseas holiday at some point in the near future. 

The main goal is to make life as easy and enjoyable as possible; not to change that lifestyle, Robinson said.

WHAT ABOUT THE HORROR STORIES?

Chatwin said the tales of woe of Lotto winners blowing millions of dollars and ending up in a worse position than where they began discouraged reckless spending.

Earlier this year, 46-year-old French woman went on a three-week shopping spree after she believed she had won the Euro Millions Lottery, only to find she wasn't actually the winner.

And in the US lottery winner Sharon Tirabassi blew through more than US$10m (NZ$14m) in less than 10 years and is back to renting a house and catching the bus to work.

Robinson said those types of stories were well-known but it didn't happen in New Zealand.

The main goal is to make their life as easy and enjoyable as possible; not to change their lifestyle, Robinson said.

"New Zealanders on the whole are pretty down-to-earth...

"They like their life, they like it the way it is."

SO WHAT DO NZ LOTTO WINNERS SPEND THEIR MONEY ON?

A Tauranga family who won $7.1m in February said they celebrated with fish and chips on the beach.

And Robinson said 46 per cent of Powerball winners used their winnings to help out family members.

Others turned their attention to the family home, with 38 per cent of big winners, including a Timaru family who landed a $7m prize, spending some of their winnings on paying off the mortgage, renovating their house or buying the home of their dreams.

Meanwhile, 31 per cent took a holiday, with the most popular destinations being the Pacific Islands or New York.

And other Kiwis helped out their community or gave to charities, like a couple who won $7.5m in December 

SURELY SOME WINNERS TREAT THEMSELVES

While Kiwi Lotto winners are relatively down-to-earth with how they spend their moolah, some are partial to a bit of extravagance.

A Nelson woman who won $5m in January flew her family business class to Dolly Parton's Dollywood theme park in the Smokey Mountains.

Others have taken five-star holidays to France, the Greek Island and island hopped around the Pacific.

Quite a few had bought their dream car, with more than one winner shelling out for a Porsche. 

And one Auckland man who won $10.6m bought a Ferrari, which he now races in New Zealand and Australia, Robinson said.

 - Stuff

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