Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Biggest Win of All

Biggest Win of All

One of the biggest lotto wins in Europe was won by a couple in July 2011. Colin and Christine Weir, from Largs, Ayrshire, who won the entire whopping jackpot of £161 million in the EuroMillions draw.

The couple had been married for thirty years by that time and have two children, Carly (30) who was studying photography at the time, and their son Jamie (28) who then worked in a local call centre.
Colin had worked as a TV cameraman and studio manager for 23 years whilst Chris had been a psychiatric nurse for 37 years, allowing the family to live a comfortable life within their means. Unfortunately, by 2011 both had been unable to work for several years due to serious health issues. This lotto win stunned them and Mr Weir had said, “When we first won, it had felt like a dream. Everything went in slow motion.”

Luckily the family seems rather level headed and did not blow their millions as so many do. Mrs Weir said that they had many opportunities to explore but that they did not want to rush into anything. For them, she said, it would be about gradual change and choices. The first things they mentioned were a new home, including homes for each of their children, new cars for themselves and of course the opportunity to travel. Mrs Weir said that they were most excited about the travel opportunities.

 Mr Weir had never been fond of travel due to his rheumatoid arthritis and leg injury; however, first class tickets would definitely persuade him as it would be far less hassle. Where would they like to go? Top of their list was the Great Wall of China, art galleries in Paris and Russia, Cambodia and Thailand, standing at the foot of Ayers Rock in Australia,  and fulfilling Mr Weir’s dream of watching Barcelona play from the comfort of his own box at the Camp Nou stadium.

The first thing the Weirs did was clear their debt. Then a month after winning, they  sold their modest three bedroom and bought Knock House, a sprawling 5 bedroom with a 3 bedroom gatehouse for guest accommodation, for around £800 000. They spent a three years renovating and then sold it, moving into a larger, 3-acre estate worth a nice £3 million. Each child also got their own house and started taking driving lessons.

The Weirs have also become quite well known for donating to charitable causes and set up their own foundation, The Weir CharitableTrust (, shortly after their win. Amongst other things, they have also become one of the UK’s biggest political donors and have invested heavily in the Partick Thistle football club.

The Weirs modest three bedroom house in Largs.

The Weirs first mansion, Knock House

The Weirs current mansion, Frognal Estate in Troon, Scotland

The Weirs are still greatly enjoying their fortune which catapulted them into 430th place on the Sunday Times rich list, not far below the Beckhams who have an official fortune of £165 million. “It seems absolutely fantastical,” said Mrs Weir, “I woke up on Tuesday morning and everything was ordinary. I woke up on Wednesday and the world was totally different for us.” One thing is certain, the family has definitely lived by the adage of “with great wealth comes great responsibility.”

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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Winning the Lottery – Here’s How

Winning the Lottery – Here’s How

The lottery has a reputation for being a game of chance in which the fate of players depends completely on numbers chosen at random. Players select six numbers from a set of balls numbered between one and fifty, and wait in anticipation to see if the numbers selected match any of those picked. It is, in essence, a gamble. Or is it?

In order to stand a chance to win the lottery, a lottery ticket actually needs to be purchased. It seems like an obvious point, but the number of individuals who believe that they will be selected to win millions ‘by chance’ is oddly high. The principle is quite simple - the more tickets purchased, the greater the chances of winning!

Does the equipment have any part to play in which numbers are selected? In short, no. There are two types of Lotto machines used, namely the gravity pick machine and the air mix machine. Both are designed to produce random combinations of numbers, as well as always have the balls visible during the process of selection. These elements prevent tampering and ensure fairness to all players, causing players to rely entirely on their own selection of random numbers to impact their win.

While the winning number combinations are not pre-selected, the odds of picking a correct number have been calculated to be 8.33%. This is based on the fact that there are fifty numbers to choose from, and only six balls are picked, meaning that there are six opportunities for the correct number to be picked. So, although picking the winning combination will take a bit more time and thought, the odds of getting at least one correct number are higher.

When it comes to picking a winning combination, there are a number of patterns to avoid. The first of these is to select the same numbers from a recent draw. While it may seem logical that those numbers enriched the lives of another player, the odds of that exact combination reoccurring in such a short period of time is unheard of. A second pattern to steer clear of is using birthdays as a selection. Not only does this selection limit your number choice from 1 to 31, but the number of players who use their birthday combinations increases your chances of sharing any winnings you receive should your numbers be picked. Selecting numbers that were predicted by a fortune teller or fortune cookie will likely end in disappointment. In these instances, several people may receive the same information, once again diminishing the grand total up for grabs.

Playing consistently not only increases the chances of winning, but allows players to get an idea of how many ways the winnings are split and the link between numbers and patterns. Selecting numbers at random may not be the wisest decision, but being consistent with your number selection in varied combinations gives a greater chance of winning. While some players swear by particular rituals and methods of selection, fate often plays a bigger hand in selecting its next winner.

Keep on playing – you never know when it could be you!

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Money Used Wisely

Money Used Wisely

We have all pictured it…Summer holidays, new houses, fancy cars… the stuff dreams are made of! We play the lottery weekly with the belief that one day, those distant dreams will become our reality. Winning the lottery undoubtedly enriches lives, but just what kind of influence does it have on the decisions people make?

United Kingdom’s Thea Bristow was the winner of an incredible £15 million pounds. Being the sole breadwinner in her family due to her husband’s back injury, Thea never imagined that she would ever be able to rest a day in her life again. Thea played the lottery on a regular basis and had won a few pounds back here and there, but it took Thea some time to grasp the reality of how her life would change when she discovered that she had all 6 numbers correct. After discovering that she had in fact won, Thea had to work hard to convince her husband, Paul, that they had not won thousands but millions! His disbelief also soon turned to sheer joy. 

Thea and Paul discussed the possibilities that their big win opened up, and decided that following the humble route was best. The following day, Thea returned to work as usual at a small factory that made souvenirs and the couple then made their first purchase - a Kenwood Chef, which Paul felt would enhance their lives as it would make it easier for them to make pastry. The couple invested in a new computer which would help them with their involvement in the Torquay Football Club and other outreach endeavours.

The football club had been going bankrupt, but the result of Paul and Thea’s financial investment enabled the club to continue operating. Thea also took driving lessons and bought herself a Ford Kia convertible. Thea and Paul were part of the Scouts and, in an effort to give back, they planned a trip to Canada with 56 scouts, 30 parents and helpers and generously footed the bill of £500 000 for the trip. Tragically, Paul passes away from Diabetes just 6 years after the big win, and Thea and her son therefore took over directorship of the Torquay Football Club in order to ensure its continued success.

Across the world in Getra, Nabraska, David and Erica Harrig’s lives changed when they won $61.45 million in December 2013. David chose his 5 numbers based on his birthday – a fun combination that forever changed his life. It took David and Erica a few days to come to terms with the fact that they had won, and enlisted Erica’s colleague to check the Powerball results to confirm that it was true. David and Erica instantly went from spending their days worrying about how to put food on the table to being concerned about how to spend their winnings in such a way that they would leave a legacy for their children. 

The couple sought the council of several lawyers and financial advisors to ensure that they did not misuse their winnings.  After working for 16 years at their respective companies, David and Erica made the decision to retire and invest their time giving back to the community. In addition, David bought himself a red Corvette and Erica renovated their home to include a front porch and a swimming pool. When David’s mom heard about the lottery win, she asked for a record player. David and Erica worked hard to ensure that their family’s basic needs were met and that their lives were more comfortable, but investments and wisdom have ensured that the couple do not need to work another day in their lives.

Money is a powerful tool in the right hands, and invested, saved or even spent in the right way can lead to immense wealth. Playing the lottery and winning is one thing, but using those winnings to enhance your life and the life of others is generously another. Which will you choose when your big day arrives?

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Black Friday – the good, the bad and the ugly

Today “Black Friday” is a commercial shopping holiday in which consumers main purpose is to snap-up the best deals for their festive season shopping. Originating in the USA, and spreading to Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the rest of Europe and more recently the Southern Hemisphere countries of Australia and South Africa, there are some good, bad and just plain ugly stories about the history of this notorious day.

In 1941 the United States Congress stipulated that Thanksgiving will officially fall on the 4th Thursday in November. In later years, and as far back as 1952, many non-retail companies and schools were seen to take the following Friday off, creating a long weekend signaling the start of the festive season.

In Philadelphia, in the 1950’s a yearly Army vs Navy football game held every Saturday after Thanksgiving saw floods of tourists and shoppers descend on the city on the Friday in preparation for the game the following day. This soon became a nightmare for retailers as shoplifters often took advantage of the chaos while police and law enforcement worked extra-long shifts dealing with raucous crowds and traffic congestion, thus dubbing the day ‘Black Friday”.

Years later, as the phrase became wider spread, it was said that “Black Friday” was the day in which retailers would see the red, negative cash-flow, change to black, positive cash-flow. As late as the 1980’s with this, more positive spin on “Black Friday”, retailers began offering impressive sales to attract more consumers on this particular day.

As it grew in popularity “Black Friday” became the “not-to-be-missed” sale of the year, often with horror stories of people being trampled (to death) in stores and fighting over merchandise. To curb this, retailers extended their trading hours but unfortunately this just lead to consumers lining up, some even before their Thanksgiving meals had digested, to ensure that they were first in line for the store opening, in order to secure the much-desired merchandise.

Most recently, retailers aiming to reduce the sales madness or at least curb the hysteria, have opted for extended sales days often including the week before or the entire month of November. Many also offering consumers online or application based shopping solutions.

Other than the retail phenomena that has become “Black Friday” as we know it, there are some other slightly darker histories behind the term “Black Friday”.

The first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied to a financial crisis when on September 24th, 1869 saw the crash of the U.S. gold market and the conspiracy involving ruthless Wall Street financiers was unravelled, plummeting the stock market and bankrupting many wealthy tycoons, farmers and retirees.

In recent years a myth has cropped up, which most likely stems from an anti-consumerism movement, claiming that in the 1800s on the Southern US plantations, owners could purchase slaves at a discount on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

On this “Black Friday”, the Lottery Network is running a cyber sale on Lottery Tickets. Be sure to log in and, purchase your tickets.  Who knows, it may be your turn to hit the Jackpot and never have to go to another sale in your life.

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