Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Fairlady|May 2020
‘The first thing I did? I went to DionWired and bought a tumble dryer.’ Kristen Peterssen woke up a multimillionaire at the age of 26, and had to grow up very fast. Here’s how she handled the pressures of suddenly coming into money.
Charis Torrance

It’s the stuff daydreams are made of. Some mysterious uncle comes out of the woodwork and leaves you a vast fortune (and maybe a sprawling mansion) in his will. Or you buy the winning Lotto ticket. Hey, it doesn’t even have to be the jackpot – a few mil would do just fine! The question is: what would you do with your newfound wealth?

In the space of a week, 26-year-old Kristen Peterssen became a multimillionaire. Which sounds amazing, until you hear the rest of the story… Her mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer the year before, passed away, leaving her a retirement policy that paid out R4 million, plus an insurance policy of R1 million. Then, in the same week, a wealthy aunt and uncle left her another million each. She also inherited a house, a flat and an SUV – amounting to another R2.5 million in assets. Kristen hadn’t been particularly well off before.

‘I was naturally overwhelmed, and I’m not ashamed to say, I cried.’ Now, two years later, she shares what she has learnt.

Get a financial advisor

Most people who suddenly come into a substantial amount of money will need help managing it, especially if you were not particularly wealthy before. That’s where a financial advisor comes in. Of course, you need to make sure you have one who has your best interests at heart – not their own. Kristen went with a professionally certified financial advisor who was not affiliated with a bank; that way, they weren’t selling her products, but actual advice. ‘My advisor gave me a proper price comparison of all my options so that I could make a real decision and keep my portfolio diversified.’

Lock that money down

‘The smartest thing I did was put it all into a living annuity,’ she says. Now that she’s ‘funemployed’, this is what she lives on. ‘I can draw a salary from that while never touching the base amount.’ And because she has a fixed amount that she gets every month, she’s not tempted to just spend it all. ‘Which, for me, would be a very real possibility,’ she says, laughing.

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