Are you more likely to play the major lottery when the jackpot is more than $250 million? If you happen to play, and if you’re really lucky, there’s a chance, however slim, you might win it all. Let’s say you just realized you’re taking home the grand prize and you’re the only winner. Now what?
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According to the experts offering advice in an MSN Money article, here are some steps you should take.
- Keep the ticket safe. You’re not turning the winning ticket in right away, but it’s your proof that you won. Hold on to it in a safe deposit box while you make the rest of your preparations.
- Think about your job. We just had this discussion in the office as I put my $1 into the pool. Most winners quit their jobs, even if a significant number say they won’t. But don’t jump the gun, and don’t make a scene.
- Find people you can trust. You’ll need a lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor. If you don’t have any currently, ask for referrals from friends.
- Decide on a lump sum or payments. When I was younger, I used to have this discussion with friends. In general, the thinking was that it was much better to take the payment option as the lump sum payout is significantly less than the sum of all the payments. But if you take the lump sum and are diligent about investing, you could end up with more in the end. In reality, most of the time the winners who choose the lump sum option are not diligent.
- Arrange for a special account at the bank. Although we’d love to get take an oversized cardboard check to the bank, your winnings are transferred by wire. You’ll need a special bank account to handle the deposits.
- Change your phone number. You never know how many relatives and long lost friends you have until you have come across a large sum of money. With a new unlisted number, you can be in control of those with the ability to contact you.
The article continues with more tips:
You’re about to become filthy rich, so splurge if you want to and arrive at lottery headquarters by limo, helicopter or elephant, if you are so inclined. But don’t take too much time. There’s always a deadline.
If you’re a person who is habitually late, watch out for this. Who wants to miss out on $250 million due to traffic or issues with the day-care?
The Tax Man cometh before you even get your money, immediately making you 28% poorer. And if you’re the kind of scoundrel who owes something called state-owned-debt, such as back taxes or child support, the lottery folks take that off the top as well.
That’s quite a bite for the government, but if you’re still coming out with $180 million after taxes, can you complain?
Finding a way to spend millions may seem insurmountable, but it’s really not that difficult. Many folks — lottery winners and insta-rock stars alike — have succeeded in finding solutions to this particular “problem.”
The article provides some tips for spending and saving large amounts of money responsibly.
You’ll probably want to help out your family and those who were friends before you were rich. You might be interested in leaving a legacy by helping your favorite cause in a major way… And you’ll probably want to have something at the end to leave to your heirs — ’cause then you get to play all kinds of mind games writing up your will different ways.
Updated September 24, 2015 and originally published February 28, 2006.