Make the dream last a lifetime

THERE are only days left until the $31 million Lotto draw and it follows that millions of Australians are dreaming about how they would spend the money if their numbers come up.

But that amount of money does not come without a few headaches.

Financial expert Jason McFadden said whether a Lotto win made you rich for a minute or for a lifetime depended entirely on how you approached the mega-windfall.

Mr McFadden said Lotto winners should capitalise on the good fortune with a long-term strategy.

"Think carefully before you make any rash decisions," Mr McFadden said.

"You should consider paying off debts such as credit cards, personal loans and mortgages. Work out the amount that you need over your life expectancy, such as your annual take home pay, and set aside a percentage you can invest to generate that income in the long-term. From there you can sit down and see where you want to have a bit of a splurge.

"An average wage is $45,000 to $50,000 a year, so that's almost 700 annual lifetime wages. It's quite a large amount of money."

Some may find the money disappears faster than anticipated when you engage in careless spending.

Let's face it, you get caught up in the moment, buy your dream mansion, a holiday house or two, your favourite car.

Throw in a private jet and before you know it you're not left with much.

"Even though it is such a large amount, it is very easy to spend it on items that depreciate in value quite quickly," Mr McFadden warned.

"Essentially a lot of people who receive large inheritances and win Lotto quite often experience family breakdowns and divorce. A lot of studies have showed that money creates happiness up to a point, and then to be truly happy you have to have a purpose on an ongoing basis.

"I would set some aside to invest on a long-term basis and consider giving some away to charities, friends and family. I would definitely take a few holidays - a ski trip to Canada for starters."

Superdraws with a prize around the $20 million mark only take place a few times a year and news agencies are experiencing the Lotto craze with just a few days left before the draw.

Goonellabah Village Newsagency owner Peter Witten said Saturday's $31 million mega-draw had generated a lot of interest.

"There is always excitement with superdraws, but the New Year's Eve one is always the biggest," Mr Witten said.

"This Saturday's Lotto is a one-off to have a win as big as $31 million."

While dreaming about Lotto wins can be fun, don't build your hopes too high - there is only a one in 8,145,060 chance of getting all six winning numbers in a single game.