Ever wondered what it would be like to receive the news that you’d just won £1 million? Well, James nearly didn’t find out...
Agent Million, whose job it is to deliver the Premium Bonds jackpot prize to the lucky winners, had arrived to tell James some life-changing news. James, however, had moved house and hadn’t updated his address details with NS&I.
Luckily, he had registered to manage his Premium Bonds online and had alternative contact details.
It was a sunny Friday in August as James made his way to work thinking about no more than the day ahead and clocking off for the weekend. Little did he know as he made his regular 40-minute drive to work that his weekend would be a little different than planned.
In the middle of the day, James was contacted by NS&I unexpectedly and was asked if he could meet that afternoon. Wary that this could be a scam, James phoned NS&I’s customer service team to check the contact was genuine. It was, and while waiting for his mystery visitor, James racked his brain, convincing himself that something had happened to his money and spent the time checking and double checking that his savings were safe. After about an hour and a half of nervous waiting his visitor arrived and the mystery revealed.
James was met at his place of work by NS&I’s very own Agent Million, who was about to give him some news that would change his life.
Winning £1 million had never entered my head when I had invested in Premium Bonds.
“Holy moly” said James in total shock and disbelief as he tried to register the news he had just received in a small private room in his office. The thought of winning £1 million had never entered his head when he had invested in Premium Bonds. He decided to do so to have “a bit of fun”, while putting money aside for some kitchen renovations.
Once Agent Million had left, he decided to leave work straight away. It was late afternoon and with his boss already on holiday, he snuck out and, on this occasion, chose to take the long route home. He usually made a point of getting home as quickly as he could, but tonight was different, describing it as “one of the longest drives he had ever done”. He spent the journey wondering whether what had just happened was real.
“You’ve got to sit down, I’m going to tell you something,” he told his wife on entering the house. “She freaked out, we both freaked out.”
A quiet weekend turned into anything other as they deliberated over whether it had actually happened and what they might do with their life-changing win. It led to not much sleep and a lot of time thinking.
I was able to see the seven figure sum in my bank account and all the previous doubts disappeared.
Consequently, James decided not to go into work on the Monday morning, instead meeting once again with NS&I and this time, a bank manager. At this point, James was able to see the seven figure sum in his bank account and all the previous doubts disappeared.
James and his family had always been frugal, “but my friends would call me tight”. He would shop for clothes in charity shops, had credit cards but never used them, and paid for second hand cars in cash. To have a windfall sat in his bank account was something of a shock, and he spent much of the first few months not spending anything and logging-in to look at the balance in his bank account.
James decided to take NS&I up on the offer of a free session of financial advice from Matrix Capital, the financial advisers contracted to offer advice to Premium Bond jackpot winners. Talking about what he wanted out of life, he has been able to pay off his mortgage, finally get his kitchen done and invest for his, his wife’s and his family’s futures. He has even managed to treat himself to a pair of Levi’s – this time not from the charity shop!
Winning the jackpot in August 2014, James has spent a lot of time thinking about how to use his windfall wisely. “I had always taken permanent jobs in the past but I made the decision to go self-employed. I can now be my own boss.”
“I had always scrimped and saved and I didn’t want to be one of those people who won big money and lost it or spent it all ridiculously quickly. The win has given me and my family stability and we know how lucky we are to be able to do things if and when we want.”
*James’s name has been changed to protect his identity.
The easiest way to manage your Premium Bonds and any other NS&I account is to use our online service. You can register to keep all your contact details up to date and make sure we can get in touch if you win a prize.