Sep 13

The Frugal Lottery Millionaires

Earlier in the week we bought you the story of Powerball lottery winner, Willie Seeley, who won a share of the monster $448 million Powerball jackpot last month. Despite never having to worry about money again, Willie has said the money hasn’t made him happy after making substantial lifestyle changes including quitting work and becoming a media darling.

There is a lot of truth in the old saying that money doesn’t buy happiness. Here are just a few millionaires – lottery winners and business people alike – who continue to live ordinary lives despite having mega fortunes, and are the better for it.

Alexandra Chaar, from Clearwater, Florida, won $1 million on a Florida Lottery scratch off

Alexandra Chaar, 21, was earning $400 per week as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant and living in a shared house with four friends when she struck it lucky on a Florida Lottery scratch off in 2012. But instead of splurging all her cash on a new house and quitting her job, Chaar continued to work her job and stayed in the same shared house. Her only splurges were a car and a camera. Otherwise, she insists that life has stayed the same.

“I ask myself why is it me that won the lottery? Why me, when I’m happy working all the time and supporting myself?”

Susan Boyle, from Scotland, singer who shot to fame on Britain’s Got Talent

The exterior of Susan Boyle’s home in Blackburn, Scotland. Picture: Tim Anderson.

52 year old Susan Boyle, who hails from the town of Blackburn in Scotland, has amassed a fortune of more than $33 million since being spotted by Simon Cowell on the reality TV show Britain’s Got Talent. However, despite touring the world, singing for Pope Benedict XVI and appearing on TV shows across the globe, Boyle has remained grounded. She is often spotted taking the bus to shop at a dollar store in her Scottish hometown and still lives with her cat in the modest house she grew up in.

Paul Cousins, from Perth, Western Australia, won AUD$5 million on the Australian Lotto

Lotto winner Paul Cousins

When 55 year old Paul Cousins scooped the jackpot on the Australian Lotto back in 2009, he continued to live in the caravan he had called home for the previous five years. Despite making headlines after his Lotto win, he refused to leave his caravan, saying he was “happy as Larry” living there. His biggest extravagance was a new outboard motor for his boat – but not a new boat.

“I’m just a simple bloke,” he explained.

David Cheriton, from Canada, one of the first investors in Google

With an estimated worth of $1.3 billion, Cheriton would be entitled to splash out a little more than most. However, he lives so frugally that, when eating out, he regularly takes half of his meal home in a doggy bag to eat the next day. He has also confessed to cutting his own hair for the last 15 years to avoid barbers fees and tips. Cheriton credits his frugal ways to growing up in a household of eight during the Great Depression in Canada and where penny pinching was essential to survive.

With lottery winners twice as likely to be made bankrupt than the general population (according to a study by the University of Kentucky), it’s clear that even with millions of dollars in the bank your future is not always guaranteed. Successful lottery winners allow their lives to be enriched rather than ruled by their sudden wealth – a lesson future lottery winners would be wise to heed.

For some, the possibilities created by buying their ticket is enough to create a short term level of excitement called “brainstorming”, according to author Alex Osborn. So if you want to get your pulse racing and endorphins flowing, you could do a lot worse than play tonight’s Powerball which has an estimated jackpot of $60 million. But remember the lessons of Willie, Alexandra and Paul – if you do win, make the right millionaire lifestyle decisions!

by Sadie Walton
Updated November 6th, 2019

Sep 13

Life Still A Lottery for One Oceans 16 Powerball Winner

Powerball NewsWinning the lottery is something millions of people across the world dream of on a daily basis. However, dreams can quickly turn into nightmares and sometimes the reality of becoming a millionaire overnight can prove hard for people to deal with. One of the recent winners of the $448 million Powerball jackpots, Willie Seeley, is finding this out the hard way.

Readers may remember Willie as being the stand out character of the Oceans 16 syndicate who shared one third of the $448 million Powerball jackpot back in August. With his straggly beard, tinted sunglasses and lively on stage antics, Willie was immediately adored by the public, especially when he announced during the press conference that he would be using some of the money to pay for his father’s cancer treatment. He even appeared on the Today show a day after claiming his check for $3.8 million, talking about how the money wouldn’t change him.

Willie and Donna Seeley appearing on the ‘Today’ show. Image from NBC News Today.

Sadly however, things haven’t gone so well for Willie since his win. He and his wife, Donna, recently gave an interview with NBC News in which they admitted they were missing the simplicity of their old life. As well as being harassed by distant relatives and strangers for cash, the family has also been hounded by every reality TV company in America who all want to make a star out of Willie.

Willie however, wants no such thing. In the interview, less than a week after he was photographed posing with his brand new truck, Willie explained the pitfalls of his newfound money and fame. “Would you want a camera following you around all day when you finally have the time to go hunting and fishing and do all the things you wanted to do?” His wife agrees, going as far as to call the money “a curse”.

Willie, posing for the cameras with his new truck. Image courtesey of Tony Dokoupil (NBC News)

Willie has said he plans to escape the circus around him by moving to his newly purchased cabin in the woods which stands in 15 acres of land, where he and his family can “be themselves”.

Willie’s Word of Warning

Willie also had a word of warning for the recent $400 million South Carolina winner. “Run. Just disappear. Get lost while you still can.”

While we at LotteryWorld feel for lottery winners who struggle to cope with the demands of their sudden new fortunes, it cannot be denied that Willie has courted the media since his syndicate went public over a month ago. A stream of photo opportunities, TV interviews and press articles has kept Willie and his family in the public eye and this hasn’t helped his quest for normality.

Although New Jersey is a state which requires players to go public, winners deal with this in a variety of ways. While they must give their names, they are under no obligation to give press conferences, TV interviews or make any other media appearances. Other members of the Oceans 16 syndicate have chosen to stay quiet, making no media appearances and giving no quotes. We have to wonder if they are receiving the same level of attention from long lost friends, family and TV producers as Willie.

As for Willie’s advice to the South Carolina winner? Luckily for him, he lives in one of the six states which allows players to retain their anonymity. So, providing he keeps a low profile instead of following in Willie’s footsteps, it could be that his identity remains under wraps forever.

by Sadie Walton
Updated September 1st, 2017

Aug 13

New Jersey State Lottery Introduce “Oceans 16”

Thursday August 15th 2013 – The members of the jackpot winning Little Egg Harbor syndicate “Oceans 16” were formally introduced to the media and public at New Jersey Lottery headquarters yesterday in a press conference full of mixed emotions. Led by group leader Brian McCarthy, who presented the ticket for validation, the 16 winners collected their checks for $3,872,445.94 each (after taxes) the cheered, clapped and hugged each other in celebration.

The 16 winners of the Ocean County syndicate holding up their oversized Powerball checks. Taken from the NJ Twitter.

The group members were then named as follows:

Ralston K. Chalfant Jr.
Peter R. Cherkos
Joseph D’Angelo
June M. Delgado
Robert H. Heinen
Dorothy A. Kulina
Tabitha A. Long
Brian W. McCarthy
Susan M. Nickel
Joseph R. Odoardo
Lisa K. Presutto
Darlene M. Riccio
Barbara Jo Riivald
Eleine Sanchez
William L. Seeley
Donna Cinque-Stasse

One of the group has a more special connection to the New Jersey Lottery than most. Barbara Jo Riivald is the daughter of the late NJ State Senator John F Brown, who was best known for writing the law which led to the creation of the state lottery and is often referred to as “the father of the New Jersey Lottery.”

In a touching moment during the press conference, Barbara described the win as a “real special moment” and said that her father must be smiling down from heaven on them.

Other stand out moments from the conference included William Seeley’s lively performance, which saw the Phil Robertson lookalike (pictured below) yell, “First party’s at my cabin!”, leading to him becoming a social media sensation. He drew comparisons to The Dude from the Big Lebowski for his bearded, straggly hair, laid back approach and clumsy behaviour. However, there was a touching moment when he told the crowd that the money would help with his father’s medical bills, who is currently battling cancer.

Six of the winners confirmed earlier media reports that they had been affected by Superstorm Sandy, including Susan Nickel and Darlene Riccio, who lost her house in the storm. Darlene said her winnings would go towards buying a proper home for her and her daughter – and to finally be able to bring the family dog back home.

There is no doubt that the stories of the Oceans 16 have touched the hearts of America, and if ever there was a feel-good Powerball winners story, this is it.

Other Lottery News

Since the $448 million jackpot a week ago there have been two Powerball draws, both of which have rolled over. There is now an estimated jackpot of $60 million for Saturday nights draw. The Mega Millions has also been rolling over, and now has an estimated jackpot of $43 million for Friday’s draw after its fifth rollover on Tuesday.

You can keep up to date with the very latest state and multi-state lottery results by visiting Lottery.net.

by Sadie Walton
Updated May 7th, 2019