Someone won the Mega Millions August 8 drawing for the $1.58 billion jackpot. It was not your client. They are depressed because their $2 wager did not pay off. This could be an unexpected opportunity for a financial planning discussion.

The conversation could start with: “What would you have done if you won all that money?” The goals they have in life might be surprisingly modest. Put another way, they would not need all that cash to make their dreams come true.

Your client wants to give money to charity. This is a very noble goal. They would want to “pay forward” their good fortune. They would probably have started a foundation. They already give money to charity.
Strategy: If your client gives to charity, they have discretionary income. If they had started a foundation, what would they have named it? They might set up a donor-advised fund with your help. They could probably give the fund a name! They could direct their charitable dollars into the donor advised fund, continue making contributions and maybe adding extra cash when it comes along.

Your client would buy a beach house. Their friends already have them. They get invited now and gain. They want one of their own. Winning the lottery would make it possible.
Strategy: Do they really want a beach house? Which beach town? Perhaps they would want a house in the mountains instead. It sounds like your client is thinking about a second home. How about renting for a week at a time in different locations? They could explore each area, keep track of the pros and cons, then narrow it down to one community. They could develop a relationship with a realtor, let them know the price range they can afford today and have them keep their eyes open. It might take a year to research towns and a couple of years for the right property to come along. This could be an affordable objective.

Your client would travel the world. This is a dream for many people. Surveys show 87% of people want to travel the world. Your client is retired and in good financial shape. They have the time.
Strategy: They do not need to win the lottery to make this dream come true. The fares for the 123-night world cruise on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 start around $15,163, double occupancy. You can book round-the-world airline tickets instead. These come at different price points and generally require you to keep flying in the same direction.

Your client would send their grandchildren to college. This is a noble goal. Make the money available so they can attend the college of their choice. They are young now, so there is time.
Strategy: Your client did not win the lottery, but they could set up college savings plans for the grandchildren. It does not require a lot of money and it can serve as a focal point for other relatives seeking to give gifts for the same purpose.

Your client would stop working. According to Fortune, about half of Americans wish they could stop working. This is a financial planning conversation waiting to happen.
Strategy: Retirement planning seems so distant. Change the wording to financial independence. Can you get to the point when work becomes a choice, not an obligation? This might also mean getting a realistic estimate of what life in retirement might cost. The lower their overhead expenses, the closer that date night become.

Your client would devote their life to volunteer service. They think about the great philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, using their fortunes to do good. Your retired client has time on their hands. They can find a local charity that aligns with their interests.
Strategy: First, they research charities. Next, they volunteer and see if it is a good fit. They can contribute cash during their lifetime to help out in areas they see as the greatest need. The big payoff for the charity comes when they remember the organization in their will.

Your client would add a deck or swimming pool to their house. This is not a task requiring $1.58 billion! This can be an affordable option, although they need to do the math and determine if it will add to their property’s ultimate resale value.
Strategy: What would the project cost? What would it add in value? Can they finance this through their home equity line of credit?

Your retired client would become a snowbird. Many retirees want to avoid winter weather as they get older. They want a place in Florida. The threat of hurricanes gets them to think twice.
Strategy: Many hotel chains have extended stay options. Marriott’s Residence Inn brand is an example. What would it cost for your client to spend the winter in Florida at one of these places?

Your client would buy a boat. You have heard the joke, the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it. How much boat does your client want? How much will they compromise?
Strategy: According to, boats lose 36% of their value after 10 years. Buying a used boat might be a good strategy. Boats also turn up in estate sales too.

Your client would buy a Rolls Royce. There are many exotic cars in the world, but RR has always been a standard of luxury. Unfortunately, they do not hold their value well.
Strategy: Have your client explore the world of used Rolls Royces and Bentleys. Some auction houses sell them from time to time. Going back to the 1970s an ‘80s, you can find some models advertised for sale under $20,000 (as of 8/14/23). Condition and mileage will be issues.

Many of the dreams clients might have if they “won the lottery” might be within reach with some financial planning.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book Captivating the Wealthy Investor is available on Amazon.