They look like a super-grounded couple. As Adrian and Gillian Bayford, the latest Euromillions lottery winners crack open bottles of champagne, the rest of the country can only look on – and wonder how would they cope with a massive £148Million?
In fact the interest alone – and interest rates are measly right now – will still net Mr Bayford, who runs a second-hand music shop in Suffolk and wife Gillian, an assistant healthcare worker, with a whopping £8,000 a day.
But the big question is will so much money make them happier?
Already a whole list of people they never imagined would have a view on them are giving their judgements and character assessments in the press: “I see Adrian every day. He’s a really nice guy,” said the woman who runs the shop nextdoor to the Suffolk Music Centre.
Meanwhile, another neighbour confirmed: “They are very nice neighbours and very friendly. They are a nice normal family” and another who said he didn’t want to talk about their finances then went on to do just that. “What has happened makes life a lot easier,” he said, referring to the fact in the recession times had been tough.
Like many other lottery winners pictured before them celebrating with the ubiquitous bottle of fizzing champagne, the Bayfords don’t imagine winning such a sum will change their live as it is right now, which they seem happy with. Mr Bayford had closed his shop just for the day (he intends to open later this week as usual) while their wants are fairly modest – visting the Canadian Rockies and Disney World with a little donation to some children’s charities.
But of course whether they like it or not, life is going to change. Within hours a long lost half-brother whom Mr Bayfield has never met had come forward. “I would love to meet him and the rest of the family, and that has nothing to do with the win,” said Mr Bayfield’s new relative.
Let’s hope there are no skeletons in the Bayfield closet because if so then you can be sure they will be aired eventually.
Yet even if no-one comes forward with some gossip on your previous life, can you continue working building up your little business and ‘living within your means’ while you have so many millions in the bank?
Many might say it will be hard to drum up the enthusiasm to go to work when you truly don’t have to. And some lottery winners who’ve wanted to keep their jobs have found it simply not possible – why should they have it when there are thousands of others out of work who could do with the money?
Then many lottery winners find themselves catapulted into a world of riches, fame and celebrity for which they are not prepared. You might be richer than thousands of celebrities but what did you achieve to get there? You did not win gold at the Olympics or write a best selling novel – you simply bought a ticket and got lucky. When we look at the Beckhams, Richard Branson or Simon Cowell, we might be bowled over by their wealth but we are also in admiration of their success. Whatever you think of them, they have engineered their own luck and money. Ultimately we are shaped by our journey to success – but if you win the lottery not a lot of shaping has gone on. You are still exactly the same ordinary person as you were yesterday – only today you have been given riches suddenly and for doing nothing – and thrust into a totally different world.
And what happens when you have run out of your ambitions? You have been round the world, bought the big house (often away from friends and neighbours), sat on a beach endlessly? Ironically it is the striving for success and earning the money ourselves that makes those treats in our lives – the well earned holiday, the much needed Sunday afternoon sat in the garden, the cup of tea with work colleagues in your short break – that enrich our lives the most. And we appreciate them all the more because we have worked for them, and earned them.
What happens to your children? The Bayfords have two children whose lives have now been transformed forever. Is it worth them pursuing their dreams to become a doctor or a ballet dancer or to go to university if there is no point in putting in so many long hours because you won’t need to earn any money? And if your wealthy parents don’t give you any money – in a bid to help you find your own way – will you, the child, end up resentful?
Unfortunately stories abound titled “I won the lottery and it ruined my life” – Mark Gardiner won half a share of £22.6million but encountered jealousy wherever he went. He says: “Whatever your problems are money magnifies them.”
Another Angela Kelly won £35million and became a recluse. A friend explained: “She’s just a wee lassie from the Glasgow housing estates; she’s not cut out for this sort of money.”
And bakery worker Keith Gough thought all his problems were over when he scooped £9million. But while splashing out on cars and racehorses, he developed a taste for booze and after a spell of heavy drinking his marriage of 25 years broke down. He then ended up in rehab. A family friend later said: “It may sound strange but winning the money was probably the worst thing that could have happened to him.”
Sadly a book could be written (and probably has been written…) about the many lottery victims and those are the just the ones who have decided to go public. We have no idea what other previously happy marriages have fallen by the wayside, or what other family rifts have developed over money. We are not privvy to those whose lives seemed meaningless once there was no point to running their shop, their blog or saving for a rainy day.
Other notable lottery ‘victims’ include Callie Rogers who won £1.9million and wasted it on cocaine, Michael Carroll with a win of £9.7million who blew the lot – some of it on gambling and Stuart Donnelly. The pressure of winning £2million at the age of 17 led to him becoming a recluse. By the age of 29 he was found dead.
At sister site Featureworld we have interviewed a number of lottery winners over the years. The ones that have appeared happiest a few years down the line are those who won enough money to make a difference but not so much that it changed their lives beyond all recognition.
For example for one couple we spoke to – who won just over £1.5million – it meant being to pay off debts, including their mortgage so they didn’t have financial worries. They were also able to help family and friends and move to a bigger house so their children could have their own rooms. However, they still needed to work and earn a living and their riches were certainly not enough to mean their kids didn’t have to knuckle down at school and consider their futures as usual.
Of course, there are most certainly some lottery winners – perhaps some of the very many that don’t go public – whose lives will be transformed for better. They will somehow manage the strain that comes with such a huge win, be blessed with true friends who are absolutely delighted for them and find a useful and satisfying way to live their working life.
Whether the Bayfords turn out to be one of those truly lucky winners where their win changes their life for the better, remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though – whatever they hope, from now on their lives ARE going to be completely different.
Would winning the lottery enrich your life? Let us know your thoughts below…