Andy Carter is the Official Advisor to National Lottery Winners. The 47-year-old guides people through the immediate shock of seeing their lives transformed overnight – and for days, weeks, months and even years to come.
And his unique role, which covers anyone making more than £ 50,000 anywhere in southwest Tewkesbury in Penzance, means he has an equally unique take on what happens when someone suddenly comes across a very large amount of money.
The most common amount given by Andy is a million pounds – but it can be a lot, a lot more. Under normal circumstances without a global pandemic, you will find yourself brewing a cup of tea for Andy in your kitchen within 24 hours of your phone call claiming your victory.
From there, you might see him again a couple more times, or he might become a close confidant and advisor – which is often the case if you keep your big money a secret, and he’s the only person other than you. know who knows.
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But for most people, sharing their life with this new best friend is a joy – and Andy has made lifelong friends through his job.
“I receive the details and contact the winners. If you win in Bristol tonight, I will call you back after calling the protest, ”he said.
“There’s the part of the job of checking the ticket, making sure everything is over the edge, and that doesn’t take long, then there’s the second main part, which is taking care of of someone going through what for most people is a life changing experience, ”he added.
According to Andy, giving someone £ 1million – or £ 10million – doesn’t make you realize how greedy and extravagant people are, but quite the opposite. It is very often a rewarding experience.
“It’s a real privilege – they take you into their lives at a unique time, and it strengthens your faith in human nature.
“Overall, people are really sane and don’t go crazy right away.
“Normally we would be home within 24 hours, but at the moment, with Covid and all, we’ve tended to be in a third location, or working by video call.
“What you learn from this job is that everyone is so different and unique. “
One of the Westcountry’s most prominent winners was Peter Congdon of Trelander Estate in Truro, who won £ 13.5million in 2015. He went on holiday to Butlins to celebrate his victory but has since paid back his children’s mortgages, bought them cars, moved to a new house across from his old one, and donated millions to the Merlin MS Center that helped his wife.
“The winners I deal with come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes and situations – it could be someone married with grown children, who they don’t even want to tell, or a union. in a workplace, then you have different issues to sort out there, or a whole family, or a sports team – it’s absolutely everyone and anyone and it’s always really very different ”, he added.
Someone who wins a million in the lottery can, of course, take the money, say ‘thank you very much’ and book the first flight to Barbados without ever speaking at length with Andy, but in practice this does not happen. .
“The first thing we say to people, and it always seems pretty boring, is take your time with things,” he said.
“Covid helped that a little bit, because it made people stop and think and they can’t go straight to sunset.
“It’s a huge shock and you need a little time. Winning a million or more – it’s a lot to be won and you don’t have to do anything quickly.
“The second thing is that we provide access to good advice, lawyers and financial advice, who could also be life coaches and concierge experts. Suddenly people are in a different world, and there are people who can help with that, ”he added.
“Overall, the people are extremely generous. We know everyone plays this game of dreaming what you would do with a big lottery win – they say, ‘I’d have an apartment in Barbados or a boat or something’ – but in fact, when it comes to that, do things first make sense: they pay off their mortgage, settle their kids, they think about their work situation rather than just quitting their job right away, because it still takes a reason to get up in the morning, ”he added.
It is a long-held truth that we reveal ourselves at times of great upheaval and shock, when life-changing things are happening. Quite often it is in tragic circumstances, but it can also be true in these positive life changing times.
“This job gives you fascinating insight into what happens to people – and people are extremely conservative,” Andy said.
“People grow in their wealth over time. It might be a few years before they start making these kinds of extravagant purchases.
“If someone wins something like £ 105million, we would be with them for a few days. We are in contact with them for as long as they need us.
“What’s beautiful is that people will get back to me a few years later to tell me that they finally did what they were talking about and threw themselves into a villa in the sun or something like that, especially if they did not. told anyone about his victory, and in fact I’m the only other person to know, ”he added.
One of the things that big lottery winners are asked quite quickly is whether or not they want the publicity – the photocall with the big check and the champagne, and the press conference or the interview.
“You have to do what is right for you – what kind of person are you?” said Andy.
“If you are an outgoing person and happy to be photographed then go for it, but if you are someone a little more reserved and private then maybe not.
“It would also be very different to be the person who earns £ 105million versus the person who earns less than a million,” he added.
The question, oddly enough, means different things to people depending on where they live, the type of community they find themselves in, according to Andy, who will visit you if you live a transient life in the Bristol studios, or if you have lived in the same village with the same neighbors for 50 years.
“Plus, you have to think about who is going to find out anyway. Someone living in a small village or rural community, where everyone knows everyone’s business – I find people in the community find out pretty quickly, but if you’re in an urban area where your neighbors aren’t Maybe not know you very well, so always seems easier not to disclose it.
“The decision is always entirely the winner’s choice. It’s not fair that everyone is made public, ”he added.
What people do with their money also varies wildly, once they’ve taken the financial advice, planned for the future, created loved ones, paid off the mortgage, or bought that house.
“People bought everything from prostheses to football clubs,” he added.
The first thing people imagine that a big lottery winning will mean is the dream of sticking two fingers on your boss and quitting work, never to be seen again.
But in fact, it’s a prospect that many people who win the lottery fail, for a number of reasons.
“The question of whether you should, can, or have to give up work is actually more complicated than people think,” Andy explained.
“It might not be the case that earning £ 1million or £ 10million means you can quit your job or even if you want to.
“It all depends on your age and the lifestyle you want. If you’re 55 and earning a million, you could probably give up work and retire early with the retirement lifestyle you’ve come to expect.
“But if you’re 21 and earn a million, you’ll have to work again, without a doubt.
“It all depends on your age and your desired income. This is what financial planners will be working with you on, and a lot of it depends on what kind of life you want.
“In fact, very few people give up their jobs, even if they can. Retirement is a big shock to people, even when they’re waiting and planning for it, so it’s even more of a shock to the system when it comes suddenly.
“Plus, a lot of the people I meet love their jobs. What they could do, what victory allows them to do, is give up a few days a week or no longer worry about working those overtime, ”he added. “A few people have won big sums and tell me after a while that this victory allowed them to spend more time with their children because they were able to reduce their working hours.”
“You realize how different everyone is. Everyone has their own circumstances, their own family set up – they can be single, a retired couple, they can be with a partner but not married, be divorced with children they share with their exes and children of the same age. ‘a new partner, it can be very complicated and winning the lottery can suddenly cause people to stop and take stock, ”he added.
“You can’t step in and you have to know when to step back. I see probably around 150 winners a year, across the South West and Wales, ”he added.
Traveling western Canada donating life-changing amounts of money seems like a great job – and Andy shares the celebrations and the sparkle it brings. As an employee of the lottery he is not allowed to buy a ticket himself, but he feels like he wins the lottery by proxy every week.
“It’s a great job. I see it as being a midwife, helping someone with a newborn baby. It might sound like a strange analogy, but listen to me, ”he laughs.
“When you have your first child, you come home from the hospital with this thing in your hands and you’re not sure what to do, if you’re doing it right, what’s going on. And not just that, but everyone around you is suddenly an expert in raising a baby.
“Winning the lottery is a bit like that. When you bring this baby home, all you need is some peace and quiet and some time alone. Guess I’m the midwife trying to provide that peace and reassurance and give people the time they need to adjust. It’s a real privilege, ”he added.