On a Monday morning as we face the start of another week at work, many of us will be fantasising about winning the lottery and quitting our job.
Last weekend, a group of bus drivers from Corby were able to do just that.
When they discovered they had won a £38m jackpot on the EuroMillions – £3.1m each – the Stagecoach employees met at the syndicate organiser’s house on Friday night and called their boss to tell him they would no longer be reporting for work.
Six of them had been due to work on Saturday.
One of the winners John Noakes, 49, of Faraday Grove, Corby, said: “None of us could have worked. We couldn’t have concentrated on our driving.”
Winning the lottery and giving up work for good sounds like a dream come true, but not all winners have done the same.
In January, 19-year-old Eloise Hutchinson, from Colchester, won £1.3m on the Lottery – but vowed to keep her part-time job working at her local Co-op. And last year, £2.5m winner Nicky Cusack, from Wiltshire, took a short break from work but was soon back stacking shelves at the Asda store where she has worked for 10 years.
She said it was her job and her colleagues who got her through her darkest days when she was being treated for breast cancer.
Even ‘Lotto lout’ Michael Carroll, from Norfolk, who has blown the £9.7m he won on wild parties, drugs, luxury cars and jewellery, has said he wants his old job back as a bin man.
He is now on benefits.
A study by academics published in the American Journal of Psychology in 1996 found a surprising number of big prize winners continued to work in one form or another.
It found 63 per cent of winners continued working full-time at the same company, while six per cent stopped working for a while and then started again.
But another study by Dr Richard Tunney, a psychology lecturer from the University of Nottingham, who was commissioned by The National Lottery to find out whether money brings happiness, found most people did make changes to their occupation, though they still holidayed in the same places and kept the same group of friends.
His research was based on 34 winners with an average win of £2.5m.
But how much would you need to win to give up work altogether? The prize is actually much higher than you might think.
A 40-year-old man who will live to 87 – the average life expectancy – would need to win £1.3m just to maintain his current lifestyle but without having to work.
This is based on him earning a salary of £28,000, or a take-home pay of £21,244 after income tax and National Insurance.
That £1.27m would buy him an guaranteed retirement income for the rest of his life from an insurance company but it would not stretch to a dream home or a fleet of sports cars.
A woman aged 40 would need to win slightly less – £1m – to maintain her lifestyle based on the fact the average woman earns less than men, while a 21-year-old man would need to scoop a jackpot of £2m in order to never have to work again.
So, would you instantly quit your job if you won the lottery?
Childminder Tracey Lawson, of Kettering, said: “I love my job but too right, if I won enough money on the Lotto, I’d stop working and move to a nice country.”
Emma Lewis, who works at Crowhill Community Centre in Irthlingborough, said: “I’m a caretaker, so I think I’d get someone else to come and clean for me for a change!”
But Lee McNeill, of Corby, a DJ and musician, said: “When you break down the costs of living, like buying a new house and a new car, there won’t be a lot left of their £3.1m.
“I’d more than likely invest in a new business, thus creating more jobs for the community.”
And door supervisor Stewart McPhie, of Corby, said: “I’d keep working until I got my garage up and running, and then concentrate on my business.
“I’d still drive a Ford!”