What do most people do with their winnings when they hit the jackpot?

Everyone who has ever gambled, and in fact many people who haven’t gambled, have dreamed of winning big. Whether they are regular gamers or they just slipped a few coins into a machine at the pub one night, whether they go to the casinos and play poker or craps or roulette or whether they just like to play the pokies in the gaming room at their local pub, whether they like play online or prefer real life casinos,  – all of them, and that means every single one, has dreamed, maybe for a long time or maybe just for a second, of winning the jackpot. Even among people who don’t gamble, conversations like “what would you do if you won a million dollars?” are common and much fantasising follows such a question.
Nearly 250 winners by various means of at least $1 million were surveyed and these were the results:

  • 95% sought professional financial advice, usually from a tax lawyer and a financial adviser.
  • 89% made an investment to their bank account.
  • 77% reported they had been contacted by the news media. 93% of those people contacted said that they received fair and courteous treatment.
  • 75% shared some of the winnings with family or friends.
  • 62% bought a new car.
  • 58% paid off their debts.
  • 56% took a holiday.
  • 47% made a donation to a charity.
  • 47% of winners said that they were solicited for donations by charities. Among those solicited, 71% said it was “not a problem”.
  • 42% of winners retired, changed jobs, went to school or opened their own business.
  • 37% paid off their mortgage.
  • 34% bought a new house.
  • 28% paid for education for their family or themselves
  • 15% radically changed their overall lifestyle.
  • 6% bought a boat.

In terms of the most popular things to do with the winnings, here are the top ten:

  1. Invest in stocks or bonds
  2. Make charitable donations
  3. Make mortgage payments
  4. Take a holiday
  5. Renovate your home
  6. Purchase appliances or furnishings for your home
  7. Purchase a car
  8. Share your winnings with relatives
  9. Make bill or loan payments

And the most popular thing of all to do is…

10. Put money in the bank
So then, if we look at what the experts say we should do with our money if we are ever lucky enough to win the jackpot (see our Frequently Asked Question “If I win a big jackpot what should I do with my new fortune?” for suggestions from previous winners and financial experts), how do the decisions of the majority of winnings measure up? Pretty well in fact. Most of the common things to do are pretty sensible – making investments, purchasing a house, making mortgage payments, paying for education and paying off other debts. As well as being sensible and reasonable, the common things to do show some generosity in the population as well – giving money to relatives and friends, and making donations to charities. And people are having some fun with their winnings as well, buying boats, taking holidays and making some purchases for making their homes more comfortable and beautiful. As we suggested in our “If I win a big jackpot what should I do with my new fortune?” Frequently Asked Question, the best approach is one of combination: Spend some, save some, and give some away. Judging by these statistics, this is what most of the winners out there are doing, which is great to see!