A few weeks ago, I read about a sad financial story in The Star. After winning $10.5 million nine years ago thanks to a winning Lotto Super 7 ticket, Sharon Tirabassi is now almost living paycheque to paycheque.
The article stated the payout “…didn’t come with a financial adviser and before she knew it — big house, fancy cars, designer clothes, lavish parties, exotic trips, handouts to family, loans to friends — the money was gone.”
How did she plow through $10 million in less than 10 years?
- She took friends on multiple all-expenses-paid trips.
- They moved into a massive home and still took out a mortgage.
- They bought flashy cars and toys.
- She gave her parents and siblings money (understandable).
- She bought several houses, rented them out, including loaning many people rent money.
According to the article, the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) does not have a system to follow up with winners and there is no requirement for winners to work with financial professionals. “There’d be no way for us to make that requirement of winners … people are adults and need to be able to make their own decisions,” said spokesperson Don Pister.
That comment by Don Pister leads me to these questions…
Should OLG have any follow-up system for lottery winners, to “check in” on their financial well-being?
Does OLG have any obligation to prevent future cases like this? Is the lack of a financial adviser to blame here?
I wish Sharon continued happiness. Money certainly never bought it.