Is there a lottery curse?!
Here are the smartest lottery winners ever!
6 – Peter Lavery
Can you imagine waking up one day and finding
yourself ten million pounds richer?
That’s exactly what happened to Peter Lavery
back in May of 1998.
Lavery is a former bus driver from Belfast,
which is in the United Kingdom by the way.
He says he’s been lucky his whole life,
escaping bombs and avoiding robbery while
a bus driver in Belfast…..I had no clue
that Belfast is that dangerous, but hey, hashtag
At first, he followed the common lottery winner’s
He blew half a million on sports cars alone
in the first two years, and he also bought
a huge house in a fancy area in the city.
He quit his job within the first 6 months
of winning, but now he says he works even
harder than before.
At first when he won, he didn’t want people
to find out that he was a big lottery winner.
But his girlfriend at the time let THAT little
secret slip out.
After letting the win soak in a bit, Lavery
eventually made two crucial decisions.
First, he was determined to put his money
to use how he saw fit.
He felt compelled to help people, but only
to the people he felt was deserving of help.
But, he still found it really hard to say
no to the thousands and thousands of letters
asking him for help.
Thousands of letters.
That’s just insane.
He still rejects all begging letters.
He says that he always tells them he’s NOT
the answer to their need.
Lavery said quote, “If I gave to you because
you needed help with your children’s education,
I’d get letters from everybody expecting
But, he’s quietly given away a substantial
amount over the years via the Rita Charles
Trust, a cross-community charity he set up
that’s named after his parents.
Oh yeah, he’s also given generously to his
own family members.
His second decision was that he was going
to make his money go to work, both in terms
of making him money and also filling him with
purpose and opportunity.
This, beyond anything else, is what really
was his good fortune.
Turns out he had a great head for business:
he now owns 33 properties, has several housing
projects in development, and his very own
Although he likes to keep his current wealth
a secret, there are rumors that he’s tripled
his original 10 million pound win.
He’s even stated that his lucrative whiskey
business has been like winning the lottery
Lavery says, quote ‘Money can’t bring
You have to be happy in yourself first.
Money can open a lot of doors.
Money can solve problems, like the fact that
I haven’t had to drive a bus for the last
Money can give you reassurance, but it doesn’t
Hey, wise words from a wise lottery winner.
5 – Brad Duke
When Brad Duke won the powerball for 220 million
dollars back in 2005, supposedly he was already
a seasoned investor.
When he won the lottery, he already owned
five Gold Gym’s franchises in Idaho.
It definitely seems like he was already well
off, so I really don’t understand why someone
that’s probably already rich and seems to
already know how to generate a decent amount
of income would want to play the lottery,
but hey, that’s just me.
After taking the prize in a lump sum and paying
the necessary taxes, he wound up with 86 million
What do you think he decided to do once he
got his cash?
Go on a 1 year vacation?
Blow it on a bunch of lambos and ferraris?
No, c’mon, he’s on this list!
This man actually kept his job and kept going
to work at Gold’s Gym as a spin instructor.
But, he did develop a lofty goal.
Check this out, this dude actually wanted
to become a BILLIONAIRE.
86 mill to 1 billion would be quite an accomplishment
At first he wanted to achieve billionaire
status in 3 years.
That would have been REALLY amazing to be
But unfortunately, even if it was to be expected,
he fell short of his goal.
His advisors convinced him to plan for 15
Twelve years later, he still hasn’t achieved
his initial goal, but he is rather quote “content”
with his net worth and now looks at the billionaire
goal as a lifelong journey.
Duke said his financial team has accumulated
nearly $100 million toward the $1 billion
Hey, doubling your net worth is still nothing
to sneeze at.
The team suffered some setbacks during the
housing crash, a time when a considerable
amount of their investment money was in real
estate and home security.
In any case, his billionaire plan is still
going full speed even after all these years.
Like any good investor, he’s diversified
his portfolio and spread out his risk.
As for the winning part, he claims that he’s
developed a winning lottery system that’s
made him win smaller amounts of money.
Okay, this guy still sounds the Vegas tourists
I run into who tell me they have a system
to beat some game, but it’s okay, not everyone’s
To this day he stills teach spinning class,
but it’s just for fun.
4 – Richard Lustig
Richard Lustig came to be famous not only
for winning the lottery 7 times, but really
for the infamy surrounding his book Learn
How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the
A lot of social media and press surrounded
the book, making it get all the way to #3
on the Amazon best-selling list.
Lustig’s actually tips don’t actually
follow any strict mathematical logic, although
he’s stated that luck has nothing to do
with his repeated winnings.
Uh, yeah, sure.
Luck isn’t involved.
Anyways, he recommends many I’ll just say,
interesting strategies, such as avoiding quick-pick
lottery cards with pre-selected numbers, buying
AT LEAST ten tickets every time you play,
and playing in lottery pools.
That’s science folks.
His ahem “proven” system was featured
on some prominent news channels such as ABC
Some skeptical reporters weren’t really
convinced with his methods, and started digging
Lustig claims that he’s won “millions”
over the years due to his techniques, but
when he was questioned exactly how much he’s
won, he avoids a straight answer.
It’s also unknown how much he’s really
invested in lottery tickets, because really,
have you won ANYTHING AT ALL if you’ve invested
everything you’ve ever won?
Yeah, I’m not convinced either.
For the record, Paul Dreyer, a mathematician
for the RAND Corporation fully disagrees with
the logic of Lustig’s method.
You know what?
Math never lies.
So why is Lustig exactly on this list?!
Well, it’s because for one, we know he’s
not broke because this man turned his lottery
luck into a best-selling book.
And he was smart enough to know that his system
is a complete joke, so he decided he can sell
it to a bunch of people who’re gullible
enough to believe him.
And THAT, my friends, is WAY smarter than
going out and buying a bunch of lottery tickets
to rely on for your income!
3 – Elaine and Derek Thompson
This British couple won 2 million pounds way
back in 1995, and they’re still reaping
At the time of their win, Elaine Thompson
was working part-time in a hospital and Derek
Thompson was working as an accountant.
Elaine said that the moment she actually realized
they were rich was around six months after
their lottery win, when she was deciding on
which sweater to buy at a Marks and Spencers
and suddenly it dawned on her: JUST BUY THEM
Well, I’m gonna go ahead and disagree with
her on that sentiment.
Just because they have 2 million pounds it
doesn’t mean they’re rich, they’re actually
just well off.
BUT, it’s okay, what they did after their
win was still quite smart.
Now, they actually both quit their jobs.
BUT, even though the both of them left their
jobs immediately, they still worked.
They first decided to buy a bed and breakfast.
But they decided to sell that venture.
They then decided to buy their favorite seafront
restaurant, which included more than 50 employees,
a fish and chip takeaway, and an ice-cream
Yeah, you could say they love food I guess…..then
again, who wouldn’t want to own their favorite
Restaurants are hard work to turn a profit,
but that’s what they did.
They ended up putting in 18 hour days, and
The couple mostly spent their money investing
in the restaurant, and also in paying their
kids’ college tuition.
Home for the couple is a four-bedroom normal
house on a normal housing estate.
Eventually, Elaine started doing charity work
with other lottery winners, to help them out
with managing their new finances and personal
Although their lifestyle didn’t change,
you can for sure say that their lives completely
2 – Steve and Carolyn West
In 2006, Steve and Carolyn West, along with
Carolyn’s parents, Bob and Frances Chaney,
won what was then the largest single-ticket
Powerball jackpot in history: $340 million
Both families have bought new houses, some
toys, and have traveled to Europe and Hawaii,
but they haven’t followed on the steps of
those cringe-worthy stories about lottery
winners who declare bankruptcy a few years
after their big win.
These families have actually SORTA kept their
expenses in check.
After the big jackpot, the family hired an
outside financial advisor, who, like any good
financial advisor, recommended having a monthly
Sooo what’d this guy recommend to make him
worth his fee?
His first suggestion was limiting the monthly
expenses for the family to THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND
DOLLARS a month!!!
What kind of financial advisor was THIS guy?!
Well, in his defense, doing some quick math,
that’s only 3.6 million a year, and even
after 30 years, it’s just a little over
100 million spent.
Which I guess is ummmm…….STILL REALLY
Luckily, the family decided that their financial
advisor was a complete idiot and that a hundred
grand a month was more than enough.
Well, since the bar is set pretty low for
lottery winners, just not being a complete
f*ck up will land you on my list of smartest
lottery winners, so congrats!
The family smartly invested the rest, and
only spend big money on special events, limited
vacations, or things that will improve help
their everyday lives.
Even after the big win, both Steve and Carolyn
still work every day.
A downfall of being rich though?
A newly acquired stalker.
Apparently this stalker kept calling, saying
she was going to commit suicide and she couldn’t
go on unless they gave money to her.
Only one stalker?!
I say that’s lucky they only have one!
1 – Les Robins
Back in 1993, middle-school teacher Les Robins
won a $111 million powerball jackpot, a record
at that time.
Well, he WAS a middle school teacher.
Anyways, he bought the winning ticket in Fond
du Lac, Wisconsin’s famed “Miracle Mile”,
the strip of grocery and convenience stores
that had previously sold a string of big-money
winning lottery tickets.
With his newfound fortune, he bought 226 acres
Nope, not for a huge mansion with a pool and
a hot tub.
But for a day camp for children.
It’s called Camp Winnegator, a local day camp
that runs four or five weeks every summer,
primarily catering to kids from in and around
Fond du Lac.
They try and entice children with the promise
of horseback rides, painting classes, and
The camp, even though it’s mildly successful,
doesn’t even have a website or even an official
Facebook page, but is known through word of
mouth rather than through conventional marketing
The camp combines two of Robins’ big loves:
Lake Winnebago and the Florida Gators.
This day-camp tries to make children 6 to
16 disconnect from their electronic devices
to just enjoy the great outdoors.
The camp is near Robins’s waterfront home
and includes riding stables, a gym, a pool,
miniature golf course, and enough powered
water toys to keep campers afloat on the lake.
It’s reminiscent of Robins’s own childhood
in Florida, where Robins went to camp, and
later became a camp counselor.
Robins said he just hated to see kids not
doing the kind of things he did growing up
– playing soccer, softball, and hanging out.
Robins keeps a low profile by tooling around
his property in a 13-year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee.
On Friday nights, when weekly camp sessions
end, he usually takes a place in the back
of the gym, watching as kids, their parents,
and counselors eat dinner.
Robins’ advice for future winners: Put a portion
of the cash into an irrevocable trust for
up to three years.
“Let time tell them what they really want
to do with it,” he said.
With the rest of the money, Robins has built
a family foundation that will support both
his family and the day camp when he’s no
longer there to overlook it.
All I can say is, well done!
Here’s what’s next!