My finances, my projects, my life
November 17, 2019

So I’m a millionaire…now what?

  Compiled by myLIFE team myWEALTH October 21, 2019 160

At some point in our lives, we’ve all dreamt of being fabulously rich and asked ourselves what we would do with that kind of money. Were such a scenario to occur, however, the best thing to do is keep a cool head. Whether it’s tax, investments, inheritance or spending, there are plenty of things to consider if you don’t want your new-found wealth to be a flash in the pan. You should preferably discuss your situation with experts, starting with this advice from myLIFE.

First things first

Being a millionaire is actually something of an abstract concept. What does it actually mean? There’s a big difference between €2 million and €50 million, particularly in a country like Luxembourg, where it will cost you over €1 million on average to buy a house in the capital. In other words, if you live in Luxembourg and have inherited €2 million, you will still need to be prudent. Such an amount will enable you to build an estate, make investments and indulge in a few luxury items, but in all likelihood it will not put you and your family completely free from want for the next three generations.

If your business brings you several million euros every year or you have won €60 million on the EuroMillions lottery, it’s an entirely different story. Let’s just imagine that that’s the case for the purpose of this article, with the proviso that it is always sensible to ask the right questions, irrespective of the sums involved.

Before we go any further, you should be aware that being a millionaire in Luxembourg is not exactly an exclusive club. According to a 2016 survey by British consultancy Knight Frank, the country has 34,100 millionaires, i.e. people with net assets of more than $1 million. There are as many as 2,420 multimillionaires (net assets of over $10 million). These are pretty surprising numbers, particularly when you consider the size of the country.

Becoming a multimillionaire overnight can be difficult to cope with mentally.

Beware of the shock factor

There’s a reason why the operators of big lotteries offer psychological services to their winners. Becoming a multimillionaire overnight can be difficult to cope with mentally. If you can suddenly buy anything your heart desires, life can seem pretty meaningless and there’s nothing to get you out of bed in the morning. Money is evidently not the be-all and end-all, and there are always stories in the media about jackpot winners who fritter away their entire fortune. Having a bucketload of money but no life plan can be a dangerous combination.

But if you have acquired your wealth through hard work or you use it to fund a new project, things are a little different.

Work

Once your jackpot win has been confirmed, one of your first thoughts is likely to be: “Great! I won’t have to work anymore!” Indeed, now that you’re rolling in it, work becomes a choice rather than a necessity. But before you hand in your notice, take a moment to consider what is really important to you.

If pursuing a career is no longer necessarily important from a financial perspective, it could well be from a psychological standpoint in terms of your mental health. Work not only helps to keep you occupied, it can also prevent social isolation. After all, no matter how generous you are, you can’t always take your friends and family with you on your travels. Not everyone will be able to take part in your new lifestyle. Moreover, there’s a strong chance that you won’t want to sit around twiddling your thumbs all day.

What your new-found wealth should enable you to do is engage in things that make you happy. You’re in a privileged position to be able to work for pleasure, so make the most of it! Why not work part time, retrain or help others by working for a charity, for example? Take some time to think it over. Have you had a business idea that you’ve never had the time to explore further? Maybe now is the time to throw yourself into it.

Wealth tax on individuals was abolished in Luxembourg in 2006.

Tax

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but tax is something you will need to think about. If you are from or resident in Luxembourg, you should be aware that wealth tax on individuals was abolished in Luxembourg in 2006. Certain companies are also exempt.

Wealth tax affects only opaque companies, which include joint-stock and limited-liability companies. So where your wealth comes from is your business alone. Just remember that tax on real estate assets is separate, and you need to be particularly careful if some of your income comes from abroad.

When it comes to tax, you should leave nothing to chance. Always get expert advice. Find out more on Guichet.lu.

Establishing a short-term budget

That’s right: you may be a millionaire, but you still need to think about your outgoings. Establishing a framework and marker points will prevent you from frittering away your fortune. Above all, setting a monthly budget will enable you to maintain visibility over your money and set limits, even if you feel these are merely notional.

Ask your financial adviser to help you draw up a roadmap for your day-to-day spending as well as your long-term ambitions.

Establishing a long-term budget

You may very well prefer to leave your money in traditional bank accounts rather than have it work too hard. After all, you now have so much money that even a low interest rate will earn you quite a bit extra.

Ask your bank to help you project how your wealth will evolve.

Or, you can ask your adviser to help you invest your money to ensure the best possible returns. They are experts and will be able to offer you several different solutions according to your needs. Ask them to help you project how your wealth will evolve.

Invest!

Whether it’s property, life insurance, the stock market or investment funds, there is no shortage of places to invest your money. There are pros and cons to investing in the stock market or real estate; it will be your call. When it comes to stock market investments, you can always delegate such matters to an expert in the form of discretionary management.

Remember that you can also make money from things you enjoy by investing in certain types of asset. Art immediately springs to mind, but the same applies to wine and certain luxury items such as watches.

Estate planning

However difficult it may be, the day will come when we all have to think carefully about inheritance, regardless of the size of our estate. It’s the best way of avoiding family arguments in the future and protecting and developing your assets.

This is particularly important if you have become a millionaire. It would be a pity if your descendants did not get to profit from your wealth or they were to squabble over your inheritance.Whether it’s property, financial or movable assets, your new-found wealth will undoubtedly provide you with a substantial estate, which you will need to protect.

Talk to a wealth adviser, a notary or your bank adviser. These experts can provide you with impartial advice and guide you through the procedures you will need to put in place.

While becoming a millionaire will be great in some ways, it should not prevent you from remaining vigilant and asking yourself a few fundamental questions about your estate. It’s the best mindset to have if you find yourself with a vast fortune, at least if you want to protect it. Finally, whether you are a millionaire or not, always remember the old adage: although it probably makes life a little easier, “money can’t buy happiness”.