You may have seen that an enormous record-breaking amount was recently won on the EuroMillions lottery. That would certainly help with the inflation on your utility bills! It would seem that Joe and Jess Thwaite have picked up an oversized cheque for an oversized amount of £184,262,899.
Obviously suddenly winning a large sum of money is going to be life-changing despite what some may think, say or perhaps wish; there’s no doubt in my mind that life would change dramatically. The adjustment to sudden wealth is not easy. We see it in literature, history and contemporary culture. Few people are able to cope with the changes as well as they may have imagined.
I’m not convinced that it’s a good idea to even reveal in public that you have won. Life will certainly not be able to continue as it was. I don’t mean just the jobs that winners had, but many of their relationships will be altered.
Winning a large amount of money will provide a very large number of choices. Things that yesterday seemed very relevant are suddenly surpassed by a plethora of options. These, as ever, are reduced to spending, giving, saving and investing. How would YOU use £184m? As a financial planner, it’s a bit of fun to work out strategies for what could be achieved within the added complexity of tax rules and allowances.
It’s nice to dream a little about this sort of choice, but I suspect that you and I will not have the problem that the Thwaites’ now face. It’s unlikely that you’ll be worrying about the colour of your Learjet or your third Ferrari. There are countless luxury brands that would be all too keen to swap trinkets and toys for cash.
Yet we all have choices about how to use the funds that we DO have. In comparison to most of the world, here in the UK most of the population are ‘rich’. Our choices, however insignificant they may seem, are likely to be envied by billions of people around the world. We may bemoan the standard of service, waiting times or general ineptitude we receive from various organisations, but we are in fact rather lucky to be living at a point in history when we can do so.
The truth is that we all have choices about how we spend, give, save and invest, though it may not feel like we do because living in the UK is expensive. The average house in the UK was £278,000 in March 2022 according to the ONS, up 9.8% over 12 months (but slowing). London averages are an awful lot higher than this … and if you google SW20 8BT you will see that the approximate price of a residential property in Edna Road (where our office is currently located), is about three times the national average!
Our choices are therefore often governed by our location. We have clients around the country and it is remarkable just how differently property is valued. Many have to live and work in a specific area, some do so to maintain relationships more easily, there’s a plethora of reasons, but these are choices. Whilst you and I may never have the choice of how to use £184m, we do get to make choices each day. Money should serve, not be served; so to my mind – how it is used, deployed and shared, is rather more important than the toys I can buy with it, as nice as some of them may be.