We've all been there. Sat staring blankly at your computer screen, dreaming of another life. Imagining what you'd do if your stars aligned and you pulled off the unthinkable. If you ever won the lottery.
For a very select few, these pipe dreams can turn into reality at a moment's notice - thrusting untold wealth and attention upon any unsuspecting person without warning.
Suddenly, you're an overnight millionaire, and everyone wants a piece of you. The glare of the media is bright and unrelenting; forgotten 'friends' crawl out of the woodwork, and you're left to solve the conundrum all by yourself.
Where do you turn? And who can you trust?!
Life doesn't equip you with the tools to manage such rare moments. Thankfully, a little help is on hand inside this Wildz Blog article that may just prepare you for that life-changing moment if, and when, it should ever arrive.
Watch Your Mouth!
One of the very first questions you'll be asked following your win is: Do you want to be revealed - or remain nameless?
For some people, a lottery win is the moment they have waited all their lives for, and they are not about to be denied any glory by choosing the quiet life. Those winners will be lapping up any attention that comes their way and cherishing every second of their moment in the sun, however long it lasts.
Be warned, though, your experience may quickly turn sour and prove to be more invasive than anything you'd ever experienced, or expected - leaving you to regret the decision to 'go public'. There are countless tales of lottery winners waking up to find media camped outside their home, poking camera lenses into their faces at every opportunity. Lottery wins do come at a very real cost for a small minority, who often end up shunning the limelight and retreating into anonymity.
Even if you're known to hog the limelight, we'd urge all new lottery winners to give the original question deep thought while confiding in those around you before even thinking about submitting a response.
To start with, only tell close ones in whom you have the utmost faith to keep the news at close quarters - at least for now. Don't divulge the news to distant 'friends' who are likely to run off to media eyeing a nice little lump sum of their own in exchange for a warts-and-all exposé.
Only once you've had in-depth chats with the people that matter most should you decide which path to take - or you risk regretting your final choice until the day you die.
At the end of the day, the decision is down to one person only, and that is yourself.
Seek Professional Help
This is one of the less glamorous, but no less important, facets of a jackpot win. And when we say professional help, we're not suggesting you should enlist the services of a shrink or therapist in order to cope with your sudden situation.
It's likely you'll be inundated with an array of investment schemes designed to help you maximise your wealth if you strike it rich. In the same vein, you may have always fancied yourself as a property mogul, or purchasing a load of company stocks - aspirations bedded firmly in fantasy land prior to your big win.
Whatever you do, though, don't enter into any contractual agreements or part with large chunks of cash without taking on sound financial advice first.
Think about establishing an internal team made up of legal and financial practitioners. Experts in their field, these people are best placed to help you formulate robust asset management plans aimed at safeguarding the financial future of you and those around you, forever more.
Many experts encourage diversifying your investment portfolio. This would see you cast your net wide so that your risk is shared across multiple assets, should one or more not provide the return they promise.
Furthermore, for most people, a lottery win will represent the first, and perhaps only, chance to rid themselves of debt forever in one fell swoop. If you too were previously saddled with debt prior to your win, consider tackling these head on so you can wipe your slate clean and start afresh. If you do so, start by addressing those debts bearing the highest levels of interest first.
Figure Out Your Tax Position
Depending on where your win occurred, you may be liable to pay taxes reaching into six and even seven-figure territory on the prize.
In some cases, you stand to surrender over half of your windfall if you opt to take your entire winnings up front. Yes, half!
Let's take the example of the US Powerball. If you were to net a life-changing win worth, say, $60M (€60M) playing the popular lottery, your fortune would shrink to $35.9M (€39.5M) in an instant due to your tax obligations. Not exactly what you had in mind once your numbers flashed up.
This reinforces our previous point. Stop, take a deep breath and get proper help before you go off splashing your cash any way you like.
The last thing you want is the taxman knocking at your door because you didn't keep your tax affairs in order following your windfall - or having to relinquish millions in duty simply because you followed bad advice.
First and foremost, share your wealth with loved ones in your life who deserve it most. You will know who those people are.
You might even think about treating an old school teacher, football coach, or anyone else who has had a profound impact on your life, to some of your millions.
What about charity?
Are dogs close to your heart? Has someone you know been badly affected by a particular disease? Most charities rely on goodwill donations from kind-hearted individuals, and pledging money to a non-for-profit organisation is one of the most well-intended and benevolent acts you can carry out after a lottery win.
A word of caution, though: be aware of bogus or suspect charities who may suddenly show up out of nowhere and start to beg for hand-outs shamelessly and incessantly. If in doubt, it's worth calling upon your new-found Legal acquaintances.
Avoid Unnecessary Purchases
Sure, the idea of a floating island is fanciful, and a trip to the moon is something you've always dreamed of. So is a 5 story-house boasting 8 bedrooms, billiards room, sauna and gym. Or a Lamborghini Veneno accompanied by an eye-watering $4,500,000 prize tag.
We'd all love to be able to call Richard Branson our neighbour, or fly past Venus on occasion, but ask yourself: are all these profligate outlays really necessary? Landing a monster payday is likely to breed extreme impulsiveness in some of us, akin to acting under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Be warned: one wrong purchase, and it could all come tumbling down before your eyes.
By all means, splash out, treat your friends, book that 5* all-inclusive holiday to Vegas for you and the lads that you have always fantasized about. But do so sensibly with a clear head - after you've heard solid advice from a financial standpoint.
And whatever you do, leave some cash aside for a rainy day. You never know when it might be needed.
A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted
History is laced with ill-fated accounts of one-time lottery winners who appeared to have it all, before going on to blow their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with reckless abandon.
Don't be like Michael Carrol, for example.
Dubbed the "lotto lout" by UK media, the British man shot to fame in 2002 after scooping a £9,736,131 (€9.7M) jackpot at the tender age of just 19. Led into temptation hellbent on living it up like a true rock star, Carrol duly went and squandered his entire fortune on raucous house parties, drugs, and any other vice he could get his hands on.
Carrol's antics would land him in hot water with Her Majesty's service on more than one occasion, while he even admitted turning his back yard into a mini F1 course for him and his pals! Needless to say, it didn't last long.
The media had a field day as Carrol lived out his extravagant lifestyle in the public eye for all to see, keenly awaiting his next turn.
Almost twenty years on, Carrol now finds himself shovelling coal as his main source of income with the millions frittered away - a far cry from the hedonistic days spent in the company of prostitutes and partygoers.
There's also the sobering tale of US career criminal Abraham Shakespeare, who in 2006, was gifted a golden ticket to turn his life around following a $30M (€30M) Florida Lotto jackpot win. What came next was a rags-to-riches-to-rags chain of events that led to his untimely demise, meaning he never got to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
Shakespeare would tragically meet a grisly end after acquaintance Dee-Dee More, in whom he had entrusted to manage his wealth, fired two bullets into his body before burying it under a paving slab. She was subsequently charged with first degree murder.
Though one of the more drastic, Shakespeare's is a cautionary tale that serves as a stark warning to all prospective jackpot winners out there. His story underscores the importance of placing implicit trust in only a closed circle of confidants.
For every ten lottery winners who ride off into the sunset, there is one horror story recounting the inevitable hurt, pain and bankruptcy that follows money mis-management as sure as night follows day. Make sure you do all your homework if you want to avoid being added to that surprisingly large and grim list.