Other people are more generous with their winnings. Phil Hardy, who won £1.5 million in December, is a good example. 'I wanted to make a lot of people happy,' says Phil, 'so the first thing I did was pay for my parents to go on a luxury is cruise.' He then took eight friends on an exotic holiday and bought his girlfriend a valuable diamond ring. Phil intends to invest the rest of his money. 'I plan never to work again,' he says, 'With a few sensible investments, I could be a multi-millionaire in five years' time.'
Perhaps the most famous winner is Viv Nicholson. Viv won £150,000 in 1961, the equivalent of £5 million today. As soon as she received her cheque, Viv promised to 'spend,spend, spend' and four years later she was broke. Does Viv have any regrets? 'If I won again, I'd do the same,' she says. 'Spending is my only habit and I love it.' But did people treat her differently when she had lots of money? 'When I first won the money I was ignored by a lot of people,' she says. 'Even my old friends left me. It was very lonely.'
So winning a fortune might not be as desirable as we think. Besides losing your friends, there's also a lack of privacy and many letters from strangers asking for money. When 26-year-old Lesley Mooney won £2 million, she thought all her troubles were over, but two years after winning she has no more friends and is suffering from depression. 'I rarely go out and I don't care about my appearance,' she complains. 'I used to socialise when I was younger, but the lottery has turned me into a hermit. My parents are worried about me. They want me to go out more, but I never know if people like me for my money or not. I don't want to be ripped off.'
However, for most people, coping with wealth is not a problem. Some lottery winners do lose their friends, spend too much money, then complain about their good fortune. But most people have better and happier lives.
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