Investor Psychology

Turning a Lottery Win Into $2 Billion

Brad Duke, 34, of Star, Idaho, wants to make his $125-million Powerball winnings grow to $2 billion.

Editor's note: As the Powerball jackpot climbs above $1.5 billion now in January 2016, we are refeaturing our 2007 interview with former lottery winner Brad Duke, who sought to grow -- not simply spend -- his winnings.

KIPLINGER'S: How long will it take to become a billionaire?

DUKE: My plan is to turn my winnings into $1 billion over 12 years. I took the $125-million lump sum instead of the $220-million annuity, which would have been spread over 30 years. I had to pay $40 million in taxes, so I started with $85 million.

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Can you earn an annualized return of nearly 23%? I'm a little behind. I've reached nine figures, so I made more than $15 million in just over a year. I want to reach $2 billion by the time I'm 55.

What's your investing strategy? I have a financial team of three people who work for me full-time. Two of them have a lot of experience building real estate empires, so we're focusing part of the money on buying raw land and building commercial and residential developments.

What are you doing with the rest of the money? Some is in conservative investments, and the rest I use to run my two companies. Synergy Fitness Group is my health-club consulting business, and the Duke Speed Academy helps kids be better athletes.

Why do you want to be so rich? I've always had a drive for success. I want to be able to provide future generations of my extended family with three things: an education, a job in one of my companies (if they need one) and enough financial backing to be able to pursue their dreams.

Has the money changed your lifestyle? I'm still single, I live in the same house, and I still work for Gold's Gym. I had a chef for a while, but now I'm back to eating cheese straight from the fridge. I have traveled a bit and bought a few mountain bikes.

What's your advice to people who come into sudden money? Remember the value of a dollar. It's easy to forget when you're making checks out for millions, but 15 bucks will still buy you a pizza.

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