What should you do if you win $50 million?

Everyone wants to win Lotto Max’s multi-million dollar prize. Here’s how not to blow it if you have the winning number.



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Many of us fantasize about winning the lottery, but if not managed correctly, a big win can turn into a disaster, says RBC Wealth Management Services V.P. Anthony Maiorino. The same goes for anyone who has recently come into a large sum of money — whether through an inheritance, an insurance settlement, the selling of a business or otherwise.

After the $50-million Lotto Max prize went unclaimed last week, more money was added to this Friday’s pot of prizes, which consists of 45 separate $1 million payments — totaling a possible $95 million — a record in Canadian lottery history.

If you’re lucky enough to hit the jackpot, or even take home one of the million dollar prizes, the most important thing to do is to not make any decisions right away. “You start getting phone calls from anybody and everybody — from charities, from individual people with bad stories who are desperate,” and so on, Maiorino says. “You have to learn to say ‘no,’ or at least ‘not yet.’”

It’s wise to seek help from a financial advisor, particularly one who deals with high net-worth clients. It might take time to find someone, so you may lose interest by waiting to invest, but if you take your time, you can make sure you do it right, Maiorino says.

Consider the case of the Lotto Max prize: “A capital investment of $50-million invested at 4% yield would result in $2-million in annual income before taxes,” Maiorino says.

“Once you know your long-term goals can be achieved, then you can focus on short-term objectives such as upgrading your home or helping out a family member,” he adds.

Unlike lotto winners in other countries, where half the prize is often surrendered to taxes, Canadian winners get to keep 100% of the money. When withdrawn from investments, you’re only taxed on the income earned, Maiorino says. Still, “if you use the tax act to your advantage, basic planning can make a huge difference.”

Even a 1% tax difference can be a large amount of money when working with windfalls such as $50-million, Maiorino says. “Certain types of income, such as Canadian dividends and capital gains, result in lower tax than interest-bearing investments. You can also structure your affairs to split the future investment income with lower-income family members.”

Understanding ongoing changes with tax policies and estate law can ensure you’re saving as much money as possible, so regular financial reviews are recommended.

Create a budget, remain disciplined and review your will. “Birth certificates don’t come with expiry dates,” Maiorino says, so plan carefully to ensure your legacy lives on.

83 comments on “What should you do if you win $50 million?


  2. great tips thank you.


  3. I would like this guy to argue after I cash my $50 million out and bury it! No one can tax me on income not made. That is the best investment anyone could do, bury it in the old chest under that old oak tree! Sorry for you so called felt financial geniuses, but it does not take four years and a degree to be smart with money, just good old 300 years old common sense!


    • Nice thought about the burying winnings in a chest mate but,…what if some mongrel(or even ‘friend’) knows where you buried or stored it – and pinches it!….Try explaining THAT to the police!!! …..errrr Mr. Policeman, someone just stole $50M from me, can you help??? Mr. Policeman smirks and says to you in reply…”Are you serious?” …..Good luck with THAT ONE…..Sorry mate, on this occasion spend up big, share with family, help out some friends and keep a few million to retire on. Maybe shift to somewhere that you are anonymous like the celebrities do to keep their millions!
      cheers and good luck! ps. I WISH I had that problem…I have thought long and hard about what to do. Some friends, myself and family, plus a few workmates on struggle street would ALL get to retire if I won a huge pot. All I ask is perhaps a nice leftover amount of $10M to leave the workforce and retire on…but the American lotteries are heaps more than this…So I may have buckets more than just 10M…..I WISH!!!!


  4. does anyone know for sure, if a person won the big one,and splits
    it with his family,does he have to pay gift tax,or the person that
    gets the split,have to pay gift tax


    • You have one year to give money to any body without them paying any tax but after the one year is over then it is taxable to the person
      receiving the gift


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  20. Sorry for the huge comment but I share some of my experiences. Firstly, great original post; usually, I don’t feel inspired to write on a blog unless there’s something that compels me to do so. A little bit of history I work in arbitrage in a boutique firm. Here is my story: When I first turned 21, I started trading from a few scraps of pages of the “Intelligent Investor.” Of course, like any kid, I started investing in online investopedia before that. I first tried my hand in investing in financial derivatives like futures/swaps etc. but lost a lot of money unfortunately. After that, I became more substantially more knowledgeable with my money – I read from an article that Delos Chang wrote about the psychology of investors and the Wall Street Journal daily and began investing my money into mutual index funds from the S&P 500. Of course, this was after the Internet Stock Bubble took place and all the drug scandals in Mexico (I had a lot of currency in pesos before they pegged it to the dollar). But in terms of the systemic risk, I wanted to diversify and make a surefire return in the long run. I’d say that in terms of day trading, you won’t get rich with the S&P 500 mutual index funds but you will at least hedge against some sure loss by day trading unless you’re an informational trader (which few of us are!). But I’m sure you can learn this from any finance class!


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