Bad Godesberg Suddenly rich: At a meeting of their "Millionaires' Club" at the Godesburg, six lottery millionaires tell how their winnings have changed their lives. None of them fulfils the usual clichés of a millionaire.
Porsche? Rolls-Royce? Bentley? Car brands that you would probably expect to find in the car park at a millionaire's meeting. On Friday, however, you would look in vain for such a car in the car park of the Godesburg. And this despite the fact that millionaires are enjoying a rich buffet in the restaurant of the Godesburg. They have the restaurant all to themselves. They all belong to the millionaires' club of the South German Class Lottery (SKL) - all of them have won the main prize, one million Euro. One of them had won five million Euro in the SKL Million Show in 2004.
Millionaires' Club was founded in 2005
In 2005, the club was founded by Vesna Vekic, who herself had won five million Euro on the show. At that time, she wanted to know how other millionaires fared with their winnings and what to look out for. Since then, there has been the "self-help group for millionaires", as the Joint Class Lottery of the Federal States (GKL) also calls the club. There is a meeting at least once a year, this time in Bonn. Among other things, the programme included a boat trip on the Rhine and an evening together. This was the 15th meeting of this exclusive circle in Bad Godesberg. Denny Wanner was there for the first time. The 32-year-old has only been a millionaire for a fortnight. He won one million Euro as one of 20 candidates at SKL's "Million Event".
New millionaire buys a new sofa
"I couldn't believe it at first," he says. He says he lied a little to his wife when he came home from the event after winning. "I said that I had won 3,000 Euro. I hid the cheque with the million in my travel bag, and that's where she found it," he recalls with a laugh. Despite the money blessing, the young man remains very modest. He would like to "spruce up his home a bit", he tells the GA. "A new sofa, maybe," he adds, shrugging his shoulders. He will also invest a little, but he will not quit his job. "I work in a family business," says the millionaire. Besides, he likes to work and even if the million is a lot of money, it would not be enough to retire.
No one serves the clichés of a millionaire
It sounds similar with the other millionaires. What they all have in common is that they deal modestly and, above all, consciously with their winnings. None of them can confirm the common clichés of a millionaire who just throws his money out with his hands. Quite the opposite. Angelika Justl, for example, first bought a washing machine with her winnings. "My old machine was already making strange noises," says the millionaire. Club member Timo Ullrich laughs and says he immediately bought a new bicycle. "We all stayed grounded," says the 47-year-old.
But all that money has given him one thing above all: time. He works for a large German car company in Bremen and has worked there mainly at night in the factory. "For 14 years I was employed on the night shift - the profit enabled me to work part-time. So I worked for a fortnight and then had three weeks off," says Ullrich. But even that would get boring at some point. In the meantime, he works full time again and supervises the technical equipment. Multi-millionaire Petra Hunger, who won five million Euro in the SKL Million Show, advises doing exactly what you enjoy. She herself founded a fashion label after her win.
"Money is finite"
Money calms you down, gives you security, but you can't buy everything with it. "It would be nice if you could buy yourself a little health, but that's not possible. Not even with a million," says Justl. Ralf Deuring can agree. "Winning has not given us all more life," says the 59-year-old. He won the million in 2017 and was happy about the windfall, which gave him and his wife each a new motorbike. He adds that one does have to think about what one spends the money on. "Money is finite," he warns. That's why he wouldn't consider buying a new car that had already lost value a few days later.
Wilhelm Kulessa bought a house in Gelsenkirchen from his winnings. The former blasting foreman at the Lippe mine is even twice as lucky. The 64-year-old not only won the million in 2014, but also 100,000 Euro in a brewery raffle during the last World Cup. Until recently, the former buddy worked for an undertaker on a 450-Euro basis. He also wants to remain active.
Environment of millionaires does not ask for money
The millionaires all do not have friends who always ask for money. Rather, the respective environment would always have grudged the winnings. "One must not forget that we are all a little older and that our environment is too, so maybe not so many of us need money any more," says Ralf Deuring. It could be different with new millionaire Denny Wanner, Deuring believes. "Young people are perhaps different. That will be exciting to observe," says Deuring.
Wilhelm Kulessa laughs and says that until a few days ago he was not asked for money. Now, however, it has happened for the first time. A student asked him via social media if he could pay her 4,000 Euro for new teeth - after all, he had won the lottery. The club exists precisely for such cases; people ask the other millionaires for advice and give each other tips and advice - there is also supposed to be a millionaire WhatsApp group. (Original text: Maximilian Mühlens / Translation: Mareike Graepel)