They were, in fact, quite average people. Roger was an IT technician and his wife, Lara was a Performing Arts teacher. Together, the couple was making an average yearly salary of about $100,000. Not that a dual income household bringing in that much money is a bad thing whatsoever, but compared to what they were about to have, $100,000 would seem minor.
Playing To Win
The Golden Ticket
As most people do, Roger and Lara, while living their average lives, purchase a lottery ticket from time to time in hopes of something extraordinary. All things considered, spending one pound on a lottery ticket isn’t the end of the world. That’s the beauty of the lottery system…it’s cheap enough so you don’t feel guilty about playing if you lose, and of course, there’s always the possibility of a miracle.
All of a sudden Roger and Lara had more money than they knew what to do with. Surprisingly, they didn’t do what most of us might do like celebrate in style. They went out to grab a cheap bottle of champagne and Indian take-out food to celebrate quietly at home. They didn’t even have plans to tell their families about it yet.
The Wrong Way To Win
More Wrong Moves
After they won the lottery, naturally, they both quit their jobs. Having never seen wealth like this before, they figured this was enough money for them to no longer need an income. For the very first time, they felt free, as if the universe finally told them they could have it all. However, they were about to find out just how wrong they were.
The Beginning Of The End
Hire An Advisor
There have been many cases like this throughout the years, which is why it’s always smart to contact a professional financial advisor when you get a winning ticket. Roger and Lara could’ve avoided a lot of their problems if they had done that from the start. One of the biggest mistakes winners naturally make is telling their closest friends and family members first.
$2,000 A Day
That house became too normal for them when they hit the lottery, so they thought that they’d be able to afford a nicer home. In fact, within the first ten days, they had already blown through $20,000 of their winnings. They spent their money on a brand new soft top Audi convertible along with a first class trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where they stayed in the nicest room of the nicest hotel. These are the types of poor decisions we would expect out of lottery winners.
A New House
The couple felt like they didn’t want to move all of their furniture over from their old house, so they wound up spending more than $33,000 on new furniture. It would’ve cost them less than $3,000 to have movers take everything from their old place and move it all over.
Refurbishing The House
Now free of all of the debt they were once drowning in, they could take trips wherever they want and make it as luxurious as possible. One of the things that they loved doing was going to stay at a hotel in London called the One Aldwych. Just one night in this hotel costs a whopping 400 dollars! So much for weekends of cracking open a beer and watching whatever is on the TV.
For The Kids
Any parents’ dream is to be able to give their children all the things they weren’t afforded growing up. That wasn’t any different for Roger and Lara as they quickly moved their girls to a private, all-girls academy. At this school, tuition per child was $26,500 each year!
Roger hadn’t necessarily proven himself in the past to be any sort of extraordinary businessman, but he thought it would be a great idea to own a business or two. One of his business ideas was to buy a beauty parlor in Northern England as a steady revenue stream. On top of that, he spent a lot on real estate, expecting the value of his properties to appreciate.
The record that Roger made barely sold and his single only sold 600 copies. At least his wife still loved his music. However, all in all, it cost Roger about 33,000 dollars in order to make his flop of an album. His wife was proud of him nevertheless as he finally had the chance to chase after one of his dreams. It’s easier to let something like this go when you still have all that money to blow through, but they must’ve thought it would eventually run out.
Remeber that hair salon that Roger bought? Well as it turns out, it didn’t do as well for him as he thought it might. In fact, it actually cost him money. Despite the fact that they were actually making money on their investment for the first several months, in the end, they were losing about 5,000 dollars a month on the salon. Unfortunately, they didn’t do as most people would when they saw that this was a losing investment and pull out, instead they chose to ride it out and hope that things would turn around.
After the first four years of enjoying their lives as millionaires, they were down to only $900,000. It took until this point for them to realize that they had to stop spending. But how did they cut back? Well, they just chose hotels that were a little bit cheaper and bought a little less than they did before. It seemed as if they had totally forgotten how to live like they used to before their riches.
Her Father Died
House On Fire
As if things weren’t already looking bad for them, tragedy had a way of striking in just the wrong way. Right after Christmas in 2009, a fire from the boiler room of the house erupted and spread throughout the house. They lost everything as the fire destroyed most and the smoke took care of the rest. They had to rent a home for the next seven months to the tune of $160,000. They could feel their winnings slip away from them all too quickly.
She Suspected Roger
Lara found some suspicious communication between Roger and another woman, so she confronted him about her. While Roger claimed he had no idea what she was talking about, Lara decided that it was time for divorce after fourteen years with Roger. “It was the worst moment of my life,” she said. “I found a conversation between Roger and a male friend. My husband was asking for a woman’s telephone number and his friend seemed to be encouraging him. I went to pieces and phoned Roger for an explanation. He said, ‘who have you been talking to?’ and I said, ‘I’m reading your emails.’
He Came Back
Roger Wasn’t Happy
“If he’d said to me “Look, I’m unhappy, I’m feeling unappreciated”, we could have worked on it. I may have been horrible to him for a week, but I would have forgiven him for anything because I loved him. I don’t believe in divorce. The family is everything to me. ‘An hour after leaving, he sent me a text saying he was ashamed of himself and then disappeared for three days. I didn’t know where he was, what he was doing or who he might be with.’ said Lara.
Her Dream Was Shattered
Lara recalls that Roger said that he “dreaded me coming home from work because ‘I changed the whole mood of the house.’” Lara then recalls that Roger continued, saying “‘I’m not coming back. I don’t love you anymore.” She continued, saying “he just walked out, leaving me to deal with the mess…I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she pulls the curtain away and discovers the world isn’t magical at all, and that the Wizard is just some stupid bloke.”
They Had No Idea
Roger Denies Everything
Roger denied all of the accusations thrown at him by Lara, and he then pointed a finger at her for being careless about their money and spending everything on shopping sprees. “She liked handbags, she liked shopping. She spent a lot of time at Louis Vuitton.” Roger also recalled, “She went absolutely ballistic. It was the catalyst for me to think ‘I really don’t want to be in this relationship anymore. It crucifies me that I’m not with my daughters, but if I’d stayed, I would have gone mad.”
The End Of Their Marriage
Sadly, they actually had one of their investment properties repossessed by the bank because they weren’t able to make the mortgage payments on the house. They had to sell their hair salon, which sold for $100,000 less than what they bought it for. They had to sell off the rest of their assets to survive.