I won the £26million lottery – with a record £1.4billion jackpot up for grabs, here are the main ways the top prize will change you
A LOTTO winner who landed £26million has revealed how the record £1.4billion jackpot up for grabs this week will change your life forever.
Timothy Schultz’s victory in 1999 turned his world upside down in ways he could not have imagined.
Now he hopes this Saturday’s winner of the historic £1.4billion US Powerball jackpot doesn’t make the same mistakes.
Schultz said when you win the lottery “the elation is through the roof – it’s one of the most life-changing things that can happen.”
He told Fox News, “Wait a minute, you got a life, [and the next] your world is turned upside down.
“The euphoria is real, but it wears off eventually.”
The Iowa Powerball winner said winning a mega jackpot makes it “a lot harder to trust people”.
“Most people were supportive and happy for me, but I got piles of letters from people asking for money,” he said.
“It was hard to trust new people – that they didn’t want me for the wrong reasons. I felt like some people thought of me as a working, talking ATM.”
Although he’s done “a lot” to help others, Schultz said it’s an even bigger challenge to live within the means.
He said: “There was a learning curve in how to deal with this stuff.”
But he was more optimistic that money can’t change.
“[It] does not change who they are as a person. If you were unhappy before, you might be unhappy after,” he said.
“There are very wealthy people in the world who are extremely unhappy. Money can be good, but it doesn’t necessarily solve all problems.”
He added: “People often consider the odds of winning the lottery, but what about the odds of even being alive in the first place?
“It’s amazing. You’re more likely to win the lottery a million times than to be born.”
Today, Schultz interviews other lottery winners on her popular YouTube channel.
“Every lottery winner is different, but I noticed some common themes,” he told Fox News.
“Winning the lottery can magnify personalities. For example, if you are in the church, you may decide to build one.
“If you like movies, you can decide to produce a film. If you like fishing, it can become a full-time hobby.
“People often become bigger versions of themselves.”
But it’s not all blue skies and sunshine for every lottery winner.
Some burned through their money so fast they turned to bank robbery to avoid being broke – some even got into a bad heroin habit.
When Alex Toth won $13 million in the Florida Lottery in 1990, he took his winnings in installments, easily getting $666,666 a year.
But with his wife Rhoda, he wasted no time splashing their big ticket money and touring the world, meeting celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Donald Trump.
Alex – who had six children from past relationships – squandered much of his winnings on a bad gambling addiction and once lived in a $1,000-a-night hotel room in Vegas for three months.
He also never hired an accountant to do his taxes and the couple were later charged with tax evasion, owing the state $2.5 million in late fees.
The duo ended up filing for bankruptcy not once, but twice, according to Lotto Exposed.
Jim Hayes was coming off a night shift as a Los Angeles security guard in 1998 when he discovered he had won $19 million playing the California SuperLotto game.
Promising to “change for the better”, Jim bought six different Lamborghinis and a range of Bentleys, Porches and Corvettes and splashed out on a million dollar beachfront pad and bought other properties in Utah.
At one point he splashed the cash on Lamborghini races with Formula 1 world champion Mario Andretti, according to the Daily Mail.
But Jim’s ex-wife went on, sued him and took half of it and the ex-security guard soon developed a strong heroin habit that cost him $1,000 a week.
“He was spending like crazy,” former girlfriend Candace Walker said.
“He would receive an advance on the following year [lottery] payment and borrow in return. But he was using more than he had.”
Jim ended up moving into a friend’s garage and turned to bank robbery.
He was so prolific that the FBI nicknamed him the “PR Cruiser Bandit” and the “Seasoned Bandit” because of his car and his gray hair.
According to Jim, he committed 11 robberies before being arrested and stole nearly $40,000.