I won R3m in the lotto. How should I invest it?

In choosing where to invest, you need to consider factors such as inflation, current interest rates, your investment timeframe, and your risk appetite.

I won R3 million from the lottery, and I don’t know anything about investments, or rather finances as a whole. Should I leave the money in a fixed deposit, or should I invest elsewhere?

Stephen Katzenellenbogen - NFB Private Wealth Management

Please note that the information provided below does not constitute financial advice; in fact, we are precluded from giving specific advice. Generic information has been supplied given the context of your question. We have limited details about you and your circumstances, and knowledge of further details may impact any advice provided.

Congratulations on your lottery win. I also want to applaud you for reaching out for investment advice. I scoured the internet, and it seems that approximately 45% to 75% of lottery winners lose their fortune and/or go bankrupt. With this in mind, you are off to a good start in seeking advice!

Unless you plan on spending the money within the next 18 months, I think a fixed deposit is not the optimal place for you to be. Currently, the return on cash is below inflation, which means that money in the bank is losing value in real terms. If you cannot achieve a return on investment of at least inflation, then the purchasing power of your money will whittle away. This is currently a broad problem in South Africa, with around R1.6 trillion in cash and similar.

In the following chart, whenever the black line is below the blue line, the inflation rate is above the repo rate. (The repo rate is the rate at which the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) lends money to commercial banks). Credit interest rates in a bank account are almost always less than the repo rate.

As your money is in a fixed deposit, you should be achieving a return above a daily call account. Does this then negate my points above?

A three-month fixed deposit currently pays interest of approximately 5.5% per annum, which is above the current inflation rate. An essential consideration is tax. Interest income, whether received or accrued, is taxable. If you have an average tax rate of 20%, the net return of a 5.5% return reduces to 4.4%, and now you are below inflation.

If we keep using our three-year fixed deposit as a reference point, a further consideration is the gap between inflation and the interest rate received. Based on a fixed deposit rate of 5.5% and an inflation rate of 4.6% (per the chart above), the difference between the two is 0.9% (I’m discarding tax for this point). If the inflation rate stays constant and interest rates increase by more than 0.9% over the next three years, you may have an opportunity cost by locking in your money. If interest rates, for example, increased by 1.5% over the next 12 months, the three-year fixed deposit rate could go to 7%, but you would be locked to 5.5%. As the gap between the inflation rate and the fixed deposit rate is low, with the market also predicting increases in the interest rate, the concept of ‘opportunity costs’ needs to be carefully considered.

At this point, I am going to quote from an article I received from Nedgroup Investments Cash Solutions published on August 19: “The amended implied policy path of the Sarb’s Quarterly Projection Model (QPM) now indicates a repo rate increase of 25 bps in 2021q4 (fourth quarter) and in each quarter of 2022. […] The risk is that should the fiscal outlook further deteriorate, and we have persistent currency weakness, the Sarb may need to consider a more aggressive hiking pace.”

If this is correct, locking into a long rate now that does not provide a sufficient cushion could be disadvantageous.

Investments need to move beyond cash

The next consideration is where you will get your best long-term return. Savings (for short-term needs such as holidays) can be left in cash, but investments need to move beyond cash to achieve a better long-term return.

The following table compares the return on different assets classes over four periods.

1 year 3 years 5 years 10 years
FTSE/JSE All Share Index 27.06% 9.67% 8.75% 11.60%
BEASSA All Bond Index 13.92% 8.67% 8.87% 8.46%
STeFI Call Deposit 3.51% 5.30% 5.91% 5.68%
SA inflation 4.87% 3.85% 4.24% 4.98%
MSCI World NR USD 16.04% 18.79% 15.52% 20.05%

Source: Nedgroup Investments/Morningstar Direct
Data as at July 31, measured in rands

Don’t pay too much attention to the one-year returns. Firstly, the period is very short, and, secondly, the figures are a bit misleading coming off the Covid market lows – in other words, the returns look seriously good.

What the table does show, however, are the good long-term returns achievable by investing outside of cash.

Investing outside of cash does introduce more risk, particularly volatility risk. But the longer your investment timeframe is, the lower the risk becomes.

Let us look at the rand benefit of earning a few extra percent per year:

Example 1

Invest R3 million for 10 years earning the STeFI Call Deposit rate. The investment value after year 10 is R5 212 539.

Example 2

Invest R3 million into the following portfolio, which broadly resembles a balanced investment:

  • 40% FTSE/JSE All Share Index
  • 20% MSCI World NR USD
  • 30% BEASSA All Bond Index
  • 10% STeFI Call Deposit

The investment value after year 10 is R9 111 640.

In the examples above, the difference in the 10-year values is staggering and shows the benefit of taking on appropriate risk. The amount of risk you can take on will be influenced by factors such as your age, asset base, future liquidity requirements and personal attitude to risk.

You have not given us any information about yourself, so we cannot attempt to provide you with any ideas around the type of products and funds – unit trusts, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), shares and so on – that you could consider.

Given the high rate of lottery winners losing all their winnings, we suggest you seek professional advice.

If possible, do not let the lottery win lead to increases in your lifestyle costs.

Instead, let it provide comfort to you by knowing you have a safety net and a boost to your retirement plan.

Good luck!

Was this answer by Stephen helpful?


Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in and an Insider Gold subscriber to comment.


R75000 on each of the top 40 JSE companies on Easy Equities and you’re set for life.

Have you considered helping Jacob Zuma with his legal fees He’s a bit short of cash right now ,

🙂 ya good one, for myself I would rather consider gargling a swarm of wasps than doing that. I have not seen MW reporting this story yet, I mean really why doesn’t he go and get some from that braggard son of his, the guy was very busy during lockdown and last year doing “conversations with my father” from his R18M Dubai apartment overlooking the Burj Khalifa and hanging out on Superyachts in the Dubai Marina.

For a good laugh


Crypto… You double up speedily

And lose it all just as fast

Are you trying to tell this guy that he wont see a cent if his money in ten years? Is that your financial advice?

Try Honest Casper’s fund !!!

Use satrix.co.za
60-70% in Satrix MSCI World Index ETF and the balance in Satrix MSCI Emerging Markets ETF or balance in Satrix Top 40.

I know the person that asked the question may not be comfortable with a DIY approach and would most likely invest via a financial adviser.

Keep in mind that this increases your costs and even a 0.5 – 1% difference makes a significant difference to your overall returns over a long term horizon (decades), so I would encourage the to consider investing themselves through Satrix.

Buy more lotto tickets

Without trying to sound very negative, the portfolio allocation as provided in example 2, clearly shows too many of the common biases that South African financial advisors seem to cling to for various reasons.
Based simply on standard deviations, returns and market size, South African equities carry too much risk for the commensurate expected returns. Also, based on fundamental portfolio theory of market portfolios, South Africa represents less than 5% of the Worlds total investible assets, so any “passive” portfolio should not be overweight in SA.

Spend it, buy a house and a car and enjoy.

Maybe resource shares, that is all that is profitable in South Africa.

Gone on holiday permanently, travel the world.

Spend it while it has value.

Don’t overthink it. Put all the money into one Unit Trust Balanced Fund. It can be from any of the major financial companies you can think of like banks or life insurance companies. Do a google search and choose a big brand name that you know and trust that has got branches all over. Sign up directly with the company. Don’t let any financial advisor fool you into signing him up as a middle-man. Select the option to let the income be paid out into your bank account, and live from that. Many people will tell you that there are better strategies out there and they will be probably right. But it’s fairly solid and straightforward, and compared to most folks in South Africa you’ll be okay.

I just won R19.60 on the Powerball. Can’t even buy a beer with that … 🙁

End of comments.



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Moneyweb newsletters

Instrument Details  

You do not have any portfolios, please create one here.
You do not have an alert portfolio, please create one here.

Follow us: