Today that fateful canister of frosting sits like a lucky charm in her freezer -- which in turn sits inside her $2.3 million, 6,000-sq.-ft. mansion in Steamboat Springs, Colo. With an annual after-tax income of $530,000, "everything accelerated in our life," says Haggarty, 33. Unmarried when she won, she was working as a $6.14-an-hour physical-therapy assistant and dating her future husband, Dan, 43, a hockey coach who was making ends meet as a waiter. Haggarty credits her winnings with fast-tracking marriage and kids. "We didn't have to save for the wedding; didn't have to establish careers before we started a family," she says.
And what a wedding it was. Married three months after Haggarty's win, they brought 25 family members along on their honeymoon, a weeklong Caribbean cruise.
That kind of indulgence has been rare, in part because of Haggarty's decision to choose yearly payments instead of a whopping onetime lump sum. "I'm really glad we didn't take the cash," she says. "Think about it: If we messed up the first year, you learn from that. You know you have another check coming, and you can get your act together."
Now the parents of daughters Hanna and Kayla, the couple relish their home, complete with 200 windows from which to view Rocky Mountain sunsets. No ultraflashy cars here, though: An Audi station wagon and a Lincoln Navigator occupy their two-car garage. After some early financial missteps involving loans to friends -- Haggarty estimates they lost some $200,000 -- the couple now keep a tight rein on their investments. "The one thing we learned is, we're not a bank," says Haggarty. "It doesn't work." She has even arranged a system to keep family members happy. "Every year I give out $5,000 to everybody," she says. "Seems to work for me. Works for them."
A competitive teenage figure skater whose career was cut short in 1986 when a car accident left her in a body brace for four months, Haggarty has since helped fund a children's figure-skating school in Steamboat Springs, where she now teaches 20 hours a week. She knows she has been extraordinarily lucky and says she doesn't hanker for gaudier displays of wealth. "At a certain point in your life you have to say, 'Okay, I'm happy with what I have,' " says Haggarty, "because there's always bigger, there's always better, and there's always more."
< PREVIOUS: Intro | Mary Champaine: NEXT >