For the first part of his professional life, Highlandtown native Elwood “Bunky” Bartlett worked as a bookkeeper and accountant, keeping track of other people’s finances. These days, Bartlett has his hands full managing his own money. In September 2007, he won roughly $27 million (after taxes), thanks to a winning Mega Millions ticket purchased at a Parkville liquor store. Since then, Bartlett, a Wiccan high priest, has quit his job, bought seven new cars, vacationed in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and become part-owner of Mystickal Voyage, the New Age gift shop and holistic center in White Marsh where he teaches classes on Wicca and Reiki. He and his family also have moved from their 2,000-square-foot house in Dundalk to a 5,000-square-foot house on 23 acres in Westminster. Style looked him up a year after his big windfall to ask him what he’s learned about life, people and, yes, money.

>I learned on a Saturday morning that we won and immediately I knew I had to stop thinking of myself as an individual and start thinking of myself as a corporation.

>They want to mail you a check. I said, ‘No… you are not mailing me a check for all of these millions of dollars.’ They said, ‘You can bring several forms of identification and show up to the state and pick up a check.’ I said, ‘Great. Can we do that tomorrow? Because I’d hate to back-charge you for interest.’

>We bought the ticket as a family— so we shared the money with our two kids and both of our parents. Both of my children could be retired if they chose to be.

>My life really hasn’t changed per se, except for the ability to go where I want, do what I want, buy what I want. Otherwise I live the same life I always have. I still go to Giant for my groceries, still go to Wal-Mart. I need new shoes. I’ll buy them at Wal-Mart.

>My passion is teaching— it’s not accounting.

>When someone in our family is buying a car, we don’t bring me in first, because then we don’t get a good deal.

>If you have to work for a living you have money worries. Now I’m free of them.

>I still haggle. I still don’t pay retail.

>Right now I own four regular cars and three classic cars. I just bought a Cadillac SUV hybrid, the Escalade. That car is one step away from driving itself.

>Before I won, I knew who I was. The money didn’t change that.

>I’m a true believer in ‘Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish, he eats for his lifetime.’ So I won’t just give things to people. They have to earn it.

>My wife and I both started working when we were 15. So did my kids. Kids today believe everything should be given to them. You have to work.

>Before we won, we never traveled anywhere. I was lucky if I left Maryland. Did I take vacations? Sure. What did I do? Stayed home with the kids and played video games. Now we travel.

>The people who aren’t used to handling large amounts of money should go for the annuity. Believe me, you can go through it fast and not even know it. All of a sudden it’s all gone and you don’t even realize.

>An average day for me: play some video games, do some business— check investments, talk to the office, send e-mails, handle any fires that may come up. In the last year, I’ve bought about 10 properties.

>There’s a local carryout restaurant in Dundalk that we love called Mustang Pizza and Subs. We’re going to open one in Westminster, mainly so we can have delivery at our house. If it makes money, all the better.

>You have the money, you can make the rules. I had just opened accounts at a new bank. When I won, I went in and sat down with the branch manager and president and said, ‘I have X millions to put in your bank. What are you going to do for me?’ That’s when they made a special tier of money market to get me the interest rate I wanted.

>Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy time.

>When I won, I was looking to show there are people like me who practice what I do and we’re the same as you. And I think on some level I’ve accomplished that.

>I was very non-materialistic before. I’ve become a bit more materialistic only because I can afford to buy things now.

>Should something occur and I lose my money, I’ll go back to being an accountant. I still have the bookkeeping business— it’s just other people who are doing the work, not me.

>When the jackpot gets over $100 million, I go out and spend $10 on lottery tickets. I could win again. I probably will. What I expect is what will happen. I will win again.

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