Million Dollar Question: What Should You Do If You Win the Lottery?

Million Dollar Question: What Should You Do If You Win the Lottery?

“What would you do if you won the lottery?”

You’ve daydreamed about it; you’ve asked your friends what would they do about it. It’s a question that has probably etched itself in the heads of a lot of people. People have a lot of answers when they talk about this kind of stuff. Some would buy every luxury they could afford—the biggest house, the most expensive, highest-end computer on the market, or a fiery red Ferrari sports car. Others would lift their family from their current status—pay for college, get rid of debt, or invest in a business.

But what should you do if you win the lottery? How would you use all that money for bettering your life? Here’s how you should spend your hypothetical winnings:

Stay Anonymous

As much as you want to quit your work with a bang or shove it up your neighbors’ faces, it’s best if you stay anonymous when you’ve won the lottery. Or, at least, don’t make a big fuss out of it if you live in a state where lottery winners need to be on public record. As soon as people you know catch wind of what fortune you’ve currently had, they’re going to get you—friends you didn’t know you were friends, to begin with; family you never knew existed. You can change your address and have a new unlisted phone number just so no one will be able to contact you unless you gave them your details.

Reflect on Your Winnings

You make a lot of mistakes when you’re emotional. The same goes when you’re too happy. Make sure to at least let the feeling wash away after a few weeks or a month. Don’t make big money moves, such as buying stuff immediately or investing your money on some shady business deal. Adrenaline-based thinking is only good during fight or flight situations, not times when you need to think things through. People around you will be suggestive on what you should buy and what you should do with your money.


Ask a Professional

Financial advisors are the best persons to ask about your newly won earnings. Apart from advisors, consulting an attorney and an accountant would be practical. This trio will help you come up with the best way to claim your lottery prize and manage your earnings. They’ll be able to recommend you the best way to use your money over the next few years while living your life to the fullest, one indulgence at a time. If you really want to make sure about your money moves, put another team under your retainer for a second opinion.

Consider How You’ll Claim the Prize

What the lottery doesn’t typically tell you is that you can claim your prize in two different ways: lump sum or staggered pay-outs. The former, they pay you with the current cash value of the jackpot (which is typically and substantially less than the advertised prize). With the latter, they pay you the full amount of the jackpot, but they’ll give only a portion of it over the course of a given time, typically annually. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so ask financial professionals how should you get those sweet green bills.

You winning the lottery has a 1 in a 14 million chances of happening. Make sure you don’t blow it all. A lot of people have already lost every penny they ever won in the lottery over the course of a few years because of either greed, impulse, people taking advantage of them or just rotten luck. You’re rich, the next step is to be wise.