First 10 days of a Lottery Win


Dear Mega Winner,

I don’t know you, but I know your life has changed forever, and you get to determine what that means. You can use this change to shape your life going forward.

It will be challenging, confusing and at times complex, all of that can be managed by you to create outcomes you will enjoy for the rest of your life. You can do this, and eventually look back with pride on how you managed your lottery experience from the first week onward.

In addition to keeping your winning ticket under lock and key, here are five things you can do to as you absorb the shock of change:


First 48 hours

  1.  Know your deadlines, 60 days to choose lump sum or annual payments and 12 months to claim your winnings. Use these time periods to determine your what works best for you. Do not move too quickly to claim your money before you have time to understand the consequences of each option and the long-term impact of putting your new money into action.
  2.  Form an inner circle, forget about not telling anyone, that will just add to your stress. Form an inner circle of a few, two or three, people who can keep your privacy. You will need people to talk with, people who make you feel safe. Do not expect them to know how you are feeling or what you should do. Their job is to be good listeners and look out for your wellbeing while you process the experience.
  3.  Buy a new cell phone, give the number to your inner circle and the trusted advisors you eventually hire. Ask an inner circle person to check your messages on the old phone. They can keep you posted on important personal communication.
  4.  Pay attention to your health, this is high stress time that may last a few months. Eustress, the kind of stress that comes from a good event, can have the same negative impact on your body and your brain as distress. Focus on stress management learn about the upside of stress.

First Ten Days

  1.  Form a Brain Trust of collaborative professionals in this order:  Certified Financial Transitionist® ( CeFT®) lawyer, CPA, family wealth counselor, and eventually an investment manager, and Realtor®.

Before you think about investing, moving, setting up trusts and gifting, give yourself time with someone trained to help you personally process this major life transition event.  

2.Get on Your Balcony, a CeFT® is trained to help you step back, get a balcony view of your new    landscape.

3.Identify who and what is sacred and needs to be protected as the waves of change begin to hit your life. 

You may find sleeping to be your biggest challenge in the short term. This is normal so just go with it, you will eventually adjust and sleep again.

Keep in mind none of us make our best decisions when we are tired.

Once word gets out, you will find people, including professionals, asking what you are going to do with your money. It is okay to say you don’t know yet, you are working on it. Once you get your Brain Trust you can develop some specific language to let people know you have a trusted team helping you. In the beginning everyone should respect your need for time to settle into such a big life changing event. 

This may or may not be the biggest thing to happen in your life. Either way it is a before-and-after kind of event that you can use for your wellbeing and that of those you care about. Lean in, take your time, and make this transition count.

My wish for you is joy and kindness,


Susan Bradley, CFP®, CeFT®

Founder of Sudden Money Institute