Why Winning 4D Or TOTO May Be More Of A Curse Than A Blessing

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 19 October, 2022

Always wanted to make big bucks through the Singapore lottery? Be careful what you wish for because it might be more of a bane than a boon.

Ask any Singaporean and they would probably tell you that their ultimate dream is to strike first prize in 4D or get at least 6 numbers for TOTO so they can leave their jobs and retire early. We’ve also heard our fair share of Singaporeans (and even some Malaysians) who managed to bag home millions of dollars in the 4D or TOTO draws.

Just how nice would it be to win a few million? Many dream of paying off their home loans, buying a family car for convenience, purchasing a luxe good class bungalow, building an education fund for their children and supporting their parents’ retirement. But is that really the case?

Winning an unexpected windfall might seem like the best thing that could happen to you. But when it really comes down to it, it might appear to be more of a curse than a blessing. How so? Read on to find out.

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How likely are you to win 4D/TOTO?

Before we even talk about why winning the lottery might not be that beneficial, let’s look at just how difficult it is to even win it in the first place.

For 4D, you’ll need to place bets on any 4-digit number from 0000 to 9999 and only win money when your number matches the 4-digit number drawn. When you bring out the math, every participating number has about 23 in 10,000 odds of winning. But the probability of striking each set of four numbers in the right order is only 1 in 10,000.

If you think that’s hard, wait till you hear about the odds of winning TOTO.

TOTO is slightly different because you have to purchase a set of six numbers selected from 1 to 49. You’ll win money only if the winning numbers selected match any three or more of your corresponding set. So the chances of winning are even slimmer because of the increased number selection.

To win THE first prize or Group 1 for TOT, there is only a 1 in 13,983,816 chance. For the second prize and third prize, the chances of winning are 1 in 2,330,636 and 1 in 55,491. That’s…. close to impossible if you ask me. So to even win a significant amount of money from both 4D or TOTO requires a whole lot of luck, and maybe a ton of good karma in your past lives. Even lady luck can’t really help you here.

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Why is winning the lottery more of a curse than a blessing

So after you’ve heard the math, you might still be convinced that winning a fortune from either one would mean the greatest blessing ever in your life, assuming you won millions from it. Well, I beg to differ. Here are some possible downfalls that winning the lottery could do harm to you.

You will tend to spend lavishly

Heard of the term ‘lifestyle inflation’ before? It basically refers to the phenomenon where your spending increases as your salary increases. It tends to become greater each time you get a raise, and such behaviour can hinder you from reaching your financial goals even more.

The same logic applies. Imagine you’ve been earning a decent income for you to live comfortably. You’re not exactly rich, but you’re definitely not poor either. But suddenly, say you won a whopping S$5 million from TOTO or 4D, and it comes in a lump sum. Do you think you’ll live the same lifestyle?

There’s a high chance that you would not know what to do with this chunk of money that you end up spending lavishly on things you don’t exactly need. And in a blink of an eye, you might realise that the money is completely gone.

Think you’ve got the financial discipline to plan your wealth? It might be a lot harder than you think. 

Suddenly inheriting a lot of money is termed as sudden wealth. This could come in the form of lottery winnings or a sudden inheritance. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, as many as 70% of those who come into sudden wealth end up losing it all because of their inability to deal with the practical, financial and emotional issues involved. 

This is why thinking that winning the lottery will make all your money problems disappear might be more of a myth. It really depends on the steps you take after inheriting the windfall to ensure that you don’t fall into this invisible trap.

You may fuel bad habits

So now that you’re loaded with money, what’s stopping you from indulging? Especially when it comes to vices.

If you have a habit of smoking, what used to stop you from smoking five packs a day may no longer be a hindrance. Maybe the only thing that prevented you from being heavily addicted was money. A packet of cigarettes in Singapore can easily cost you an upward of S$13. Now that you’re rich, nothing is stopping you from indulging in this bad habit of yours.

The same goes for alcohol and gambling. Now that money is no longer an issue, your addictions may prove to be a cause of concern if you start indulging in them with your newfound wealth.

It may take a toll on your mental health

So there is this term coined as sudden wealth for well… suddenly becoming wealthy. And linked to that is another term called the sudden wealth syndrome (SWS).

According to investopedia, SWS is a type of distress that afflicts individuals who are suddenly given large sums of money. Aside from the financial aspect that we touched on earlier, other aspects include psychological and emotional.

Some symptoms of SWS include feeling isolated from former friends, self-guilt for the sudden good fortune, and extreme fear of losing their money. Other symptoms can also include experiencing an identity crisis because of the overwhelming pressure of becoming rich.

Barry Glassman, a certified financial planner and founder and president of Glassman Wealth Services adds that sudden wealth offers greater choices, but it can also lead to a host of issues and stress because of the sheer number of decisions to make.

Imagine receiving such a large sum of money overnight. Yesterday you were a typical 9-to-5 office worker who constantly jokes about quitting but knows full well that you can’t because of financial commitments. But today, you’re a millionaire. You know this money can be so useful to you but how on earth are you going to allocate this money?

Will you pay off your home loan? Upgrade to a bigger home? Give a lump sum to your parents for retirement? Set up your kid’s education fund? Invest? Donate? Save? The possibilities are endless. With so many decisions to make about your finances, decision fatigue rolls in. Just imagine the amount of stress and anxiety you could experience because you’re suddenly filthy rich.

The people around you may have their own agendas

Not saying that everyone in the world will be out to get you now that you’re rich, but there may be certain expectations when it comes to close friends or family, especially if they are struggling financially.

Sheryl Garrett, a CFP and founder of the Garrett Planning Network advised that people can get greedy when it comes to money. Large sums of money can seriously challenge close relationships.

Are you obligated to help out a relative or a close friend now that you’re rich? Are you expected to gift them a sum of money since you’re wealthy without expecting it to be paid back? But isn’t this sum of money rightfully yours?

Aside from your own financial issues that sudden wealth can bring about, emotional issues may also arise once these close relationships are challenged. It could lead to a sense of guilt if you turn down someone who asks for money, and it could also lead to you feeling indignant if someone close to you manages to convince you to gift them a sum of money without paying back.

You’ll also never know the true intentions of others. An acquaintance might suddenly show more interest in building the friendship just because they’ve learned about your recent windfall. Are they genuinely interested in being your friend or are they plain gold diggers?

What should I do with my 4D/TOTO winnings?

#1 Get a financial advisor

The first thing that you should do after winning a windfall is to consult your financial advisor for professional advice. They are trained to look at this sum of money objectively and make the best financial decisions for you. Unlike you, they aren’t going to be blinded by the euphoria of winning the lottery and would be able to practically help you allocate your money to different areas.

Getting someone to plan your finances for you is extremely important. You aren’t used to handling such a big sum of money, so naturally, you would be at a loss.

But a word of advice is to get someone you trust. Avoid blindly listening to their advice like it’s the law. You should take a step back and think rationally about whether their advice aligns with your financial goals and approach towards money. If they are insisting on purchasing investment or insurance without caring for your opinions, that in itself is a red flag.

#2 Pay off your home loan

Unless you’re loaded with cash or have been blessed with parents who gifted a house to you, chances are you’ve probably got a home loan to pay off. And for most Singaporeans, this is probably the biggest loan you’ve ever taken up.

Since you’ve got a stack of cash just sitting around, maybe you can consider setting aside a sum to repay your home loan.

If you’ve taken up an HDB loan, the good news is that HDB allows you to make an early repayment without incurring any charges. This means that you can take out a lump sum and repay your remaining mortgage in one shot, without any penalty.

However, private home loans taken from banks are different. Early repayments mean that you would have to pay a fee. In this case, you can calculate your monthly repayments and set aside the amount needed to pay off your remaining home loan. This is assuming your CPF funds are not enough to finance your monthly payments.



More on this topic:
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#3 Support your parent’s retirement

The amount of blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices our parents have made through the years of raising us is really too big the amount to ever repay back. So the least we could do as their children is to ensure that they live a comfortable retirement.

Though our parents would probably have some cash in their Retirement Accounts and receive regular payouts through CPF life, this sum of money may be insufficient to live the desired lifestyle they want after retirement. Whether it’s through giving them hard cash, topping up their CPF accounts or purchasing an annuity plan for them, this could be a way to show our gratitude towards their unwavering love and support our entire lives.

#4 Allocate more for investing

Due to inflation, a million dollars in value today will definitely not be a million dollars in the future. Though you may be cash rich now, don’t let your money drop in value in the future.

One way to hedge inflation is through investing. The returns and power of compounding can do a great job of helping you accumulate wealth. And now that you have a sizeable capital to work with, the options are endless.

If you prefer to DIY your investments, you can kickstart your investment journey through a brokerage account or roboadvisors



Else, if you want someone to manage your funds for you, you can consider opening a priority banking account if you got sufficient assets. You’ll be able to work with a group of wealth experts to work out a financial plan for you, gain access to exclusive financial products and even enjoy some lifestyle perks like free lounge access!



See also:
How To Start Investing In Singapore: A Beginner's Guide (2022)
Best Investment Sign-up Promotions In Singapore (2022)
Investing $100,000: How To Build A Stock Portfolio
7 Most Popular Types Of Investment In Singapore
13 Best Fixed Deposit Rates in Singapore to Lock in Your Savings

#5 Build your child’s education fund

If you have a child, this is the best time for you to give them a headstart in life. Whether it’s purchasing an endowment plan or parking some funds into a savings account for them when they grow up, a little goes a long way. Trust me, they will definitely thank you for it in the future.

Here are some high-yield savings accounts that you can consider to maximise high interest and make your money work harder for you!



#6 Live a little

Last but not least, live a little! You’ve just won a huge windfall and you’re now faced with many money decisions to make. But live in the moment and celebrate! Whether it’s treating your family to a sumptuous buffet dinner or buying that bag you’ve been eyeing for the longest time, it’s good to let loose every now and then. But don’t go too overboard!

Read more:
22 Ways to Succeed in Your Money Goals
A Singaporean's Money-Saving Guide To Stop Overspending
How I Maximise My Savings During the Holiday Season
Money Confessions: What's The Most Singaporean Thing You Have Done To Save Money?


A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke


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