Few 30 year-olds enjoy Jordan Rogers’ luck, says financial adviser Peter Sharkey.
'Penniless care worker inherits stately home' ran the newspaper headline earlier this week, a must-read story for those of us fascinated by rags-to-riches tales.
This one centred on Jordan Rogers, 31, who moved into the 1,536-acre Penrose National Trust estate, described as "one of Britain's finest country estates", after a DNA test proved he was the illegitimate son of the previous aristocratic owner who died of a drug overdose last year.
Mr Rogers has wasted no time making a few changes at Penrose, installing a gym and buying a Mercedes C63 - the coupé version would have set him back £34,365, a modest sum considering his new-found wealth. Perhaps people who acquire considerable wealth overnight are keen to keep their feet on the ground - apparently, the first thing most lottery winners buy is a washing machine.
I suspect that whenever many of us read stories such as Mr Rogers', or see details of a huge lottery jackpot, we ignore the 'money doesn't make you happy' maxim and quietly think "I could handle that," especially if a chunky credit card bill has just dropped through the letterbox.
Spike Milligan once said: "All I ask is the chance to prove that money doesn't make me happy," a sentiment with which many folks would concur, yet the chances of winning the UK Lottery jackpot is a staggering 45 million-to-one, while you have a 140 million-to-one chance of scooping the Euromillions top prize. The probability of claiming a sizeable inheritance? No-one knows, it's so rare.
My wife and I stopped doing the lottery a few years ago when the number of balls in the draw was increased; instead, we're happy to accumulate clutches of Premium Bonds and reinvest 'all' of our winnings (our highest individual win to date is £50), mindful that the only way of improving our chances of winning is to buy more bonds.
If you own £5,000-worth of Premium Bonds, for example, the probability of winning £1 million is 670,274-to-one; on average, however, bond holders can expect returns of around 1.2pc a year, although your capital is both safe and easily accessible, while the rate of return on Bonds compares favourably with most banks' saving accounts.
These figures assume that bondholders enjoy 'average luck', a difficult concept to define, because one man's luck is another's calamity. Personally, given the chance to apportion my quota of luck, I would put my family's health and happiness well above material possessions.
Twenty years ago, making such a statement would have sounded very woolly, but in the intervening period, a whole industry has developed which purports to guide us towards happiness and satisfaction. Yet the efforts of happiness gurus and writers of self-help books focusing on how to achieve personal satisfaction have not been wholly successful.
It's disappointing to learn, for instance, that the nation's least satisfied cohort are those aged between 45-59, while people aged 60-75, who are also fortunate enough to enjoy good health, are deemed the happiest. This unsurprising conclusion is interesting as none of the five factors that apparently determine senior life happiness is money-related.
According to the wonderfully-named Skintdad website, the keys to enjoying happiness once you turn 60 are:
n Focus on your passions and have at least three core pursuits.
n Get your body into shape by exercising for at least three hours a week.
n Widen your social circle and build strong friendships.
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n Remain happily married.
n Find a sense of purpose by volunteering or giving freely of your time to a particular cause.
As for money, the website does not ignore its influence, but concludes that if you have £390 a month spare after all of your bills have been paid and you adhere to the keys to happiness outlined above, there's a strong likelihood you'll be happy.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? Of course it isn't because you must first build a pension / retirement pot capable of funding your happiness. Furthermore, on average you will require an additional £16,000 a year to cover all of your outgoings.
As the chart below shows, the sooner you start saving into products such as an investment ISA, the greater the likelihood of achieving an annual income of £20,680 by the time you're 60. By all means have some fun - do the Lottery, buy some Premium Bonds - but make sure they're paid for out of your surplus £390 a month.
TAM Asset Management Ltd offer investors the opportunity to invest in a variety of Investment ISA portfolios from as little as £25 a month. For further details, please visit the MoneyMapp website.
THE WEEK IN NUMBERS
The world's largest-ever lottery win was on the United States' Powerball game in January 2016 when a jackpot of more than $1.5 billion was claimed. Three winning tickets were sold in Florida, California and Tennessee and each winner walked away with an incredible $528.8 million. The record for the largest-ever UK Lottery win is held by Colin and Chris Weir of Ayrshire, Scotland. In July 2011, the couple scooped a cool £161,653,000.
The largest amount won on a Euromillions draw by a UK resident was €190 million, collected by Adrian and Gillian Bayford in August 2012. The exchange rate at the time ensured the couple picked up £148,656,000, around £13 million less than the Weirs, though they probably didn't complain...
For further financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey's regular column, The Week In Numbers.