So You've Won the Mark Six: How to Not Completely Screw Up Your Lottery Win (and Your Life)
It’s an enduring fantasy for so many of us, but winning a vast sum of money has the power to completely up-end your life. What should you do with it all?
Would a massive injection of cash solve all your problems, or give you a whole stack of new ones? We've consulted our financial boffins to help answer these questions, so when your numbers come up (which, of course, they will), you're prepared for what comes next.
Guide to Life After Luck:
That sort of money will buy you… a toilet on the International Space Station, or for something more down to earth, a 2,772 sq. ft. apartment in Mid-Levels. But what else should you consider? Here are some pointers.
- Absolutely nothing at all, for at least a week. Go about your life as if nothing has changed. Allow the shock to subside so you can begin thinking rationally. Avoid going anywhere near the inviting sum, and certainly don’t buy anything substantial with it.
- Hire a lawyer. If you’ve never dealt with very large sums of ready money before, the likelihood is you have no idea what the tax implications are, or where trouble will arise. Neither do we, and even if we did, enumerating the legal ramifications wouldn’t make for a very punchy article.
- Get a financial advisor. As per the above, you do not know what you’re doing. Sure, you may have squirreled away a shortlist of fantastic investment ideas at the back of your brain, but actually putting these plans into action could risk everything you’ve suddenly found yourself with.
- Work out how much you want to give to family, friends and charities, and stick to it. If the feeling of fulfilment and the instant karma bonus aren’t enough for you, remember that gifts and donations can impart all sorts of tax benefits.
- Tell anyone, least of all the media, and don’t even hint about it on social media. Okay, maybe you’ll need to inform your spouse, but certainly no one you don’t trust implicitly with your deepest secrets, because greedy people will begin circling like vultures—and you’re the downed gazelle.
- Splurge. Sure, you can finally buy that diamond-encrusted Harley Davidson you’ve always wanted, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. You owe it to yourself and those you care about to be (relatively) sensible, if only because the alternative seems to lead to a horrific doom-spiral.
- Quit your job—at least not immediately. No matter how inviting it sounds, completely ditching everything on a whim isn’t a recipe for holding it together.
Do whatever the heck you want. It's your money after all. We're just trying to be helpful.
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Perhaps not riches beyond your wildest dreams, but still potentially life changing. With this money you could dash out and buy a Ferrari 488 GTB and have cash to spare. Or…
- Pay off any debts you have. This is your golden opportunity to get out of hock once and for all. Scrub the credit card and the mortgage.
- If you don’t have debts, invest, invest, invest! Of course everyone knows the whole racket in Hong Kong is property, but even in these straitened times there are other possibilities around. The art market is still off the hizzook—have you been along to Sotheby’s lately?
- Set up a retirement fund. It may sound frikkin’ boring, but if you sort out your pension now, when you’re 80 you can dribble happily to yourself on a beach instead of doddering around Sham Shui Po picking up cardboard.
What should you do? Well, you could buy 20 iPhones, or…
- Not to sound like a broken record, but again—pay off your debts! You’ll thank us in the long run, then go right back to racking up massive online shopping bills.
- Take a holiday. Come on, seriously. You work your butt off, but what’s the flippin’ point if you never take a break?
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Your three luckiest numbers came in! Forty. Whole. Dollars! Whatever will you do with such wealth?
- Plow it back into Mark Six tickets. That’s four more infinitesimally slim chances to win big!
- Go crazy celebrating: buy half a pint of fancy beer at any of the fine establishments covered between these very sheets
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Not All Good News
It seems that immense good fortune is regularly followed by poor decision making, or perhaps just horrendous bad luck.
British housewife and cake factory worker Viv Nicholson became famous when she went from earning 7 pounds a week to winning 152,000 pounds in a Yorkshire lottery in 1961, equivalent to just under HK$40 million today. When asked what she was going to do with the money, she cried out “Spend! Spend! Spend!” Four years later, her husband died in a car accident and she had spent herself into bankruptcy.
In 2002, 55-year-old West Virginian Jack Whittaker won a US$315 million Powerball jackpot. At that time he was already the president of a construction company and a multi-millionaire. After donating US$23 million to charity and gifting a house, a new truck and US$50,000 in cash to the convenience store clerk who sold him the winning ticket, the so-called “powerball curse” caught up with him. In 2003, he was robbed of US$545,000 in cash from his car while visiting a strip club. Later, his grandaughter, her boyfriend and Whittaker’s own daughter died of drug overdoses. In 2015, he checked into a rehab center for drug addiction.
In 2012, 46-year-old Urooj Khan from Chicago won a US$1million jackpot from a scratch card he bought from his local 7-Eleven, but died the next day. His death was initially put down to natural causes, but when relatives pressed for a further autopsy he was found to have been poisoned with cyanide. The case has yet to be solved.
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In 2009, Abraham Shakespeare won US$30 million from a lottery in Florida. He was shot dead shortly after by Dee Dee Moore, who he befriended following the win. Moore buried Shakespeare under a slab of concrete in a backyard after killing him.
Overall, lottery winners around the world are statistically more likely than non-winners to be: murdered; overdose on drugs; become bankrupt; be involved in a kidnapping; have a drink driving conviction; or be a defendant in civil or criminal proceedings. Though not necessarily all at once.
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Signs And Wonders
Every culture has its superstitions when it comes to winning money, and Hong Kong is no exception. How would you go about finding a building that was “leaking money”?
- According to feng shui, you should pick a betting center facing a downward slope. As with the roadworks, this means that the property in question is “leaking” money, and you might be on the receiving end. Examples of such betting centers include the Jockey Club at 9 Possession St., Sheung Wan.
- Jockey Club branches situated in narrow streets are also great for gamblers, because the property cannot “gather wealth.” Choose one facing a sidewalk that’s as narrow as possible, like the branch at 10-12 Stanley St., Central.
- Feng shui also suggests that any construction projects have the effect of “moving of the soil” and may cause money to “leak” from that property. Therefore, entering the Mark Six at betting centers with roadworks nearby is believed to increase your chances of winning. We note that there is currently construction work going on outside the Jockey Club at 3 Connaught Rd. West, Sheung Wan: get down there and give it a go.
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- Some say there’s a higher chance of winning if you buy from betting centers near coffin shops (though *not* funeral parlors), because the word for coffin in Chinese is pronounced “goon choi” (棺材), and “Choi” is pronounced the same way as “財”, which means money.
- A widespread rumor about the Mark Six, and one that has circulated for years, is that the results are fake and that each of the 49 numbered balls (as seen on TV) contains a microchip so that the results can be controlled remotely by… The Man, we presume.