Expert tips on what to do after winning the lottery
So, you’ve hit jackpot? Lucky you as the chances of winning the Powerball is 1 in almost 175,000,000—which is about 60,000 times less likely to happen than being struck by lightning in a lifetime.
However, the hardest part is usually what you do after you’ve gotten your winning lottery ticket, as being a ‘sudden’ multi-millionaire can be quite difficult.
Before making any rash decisions, here are some expert tips to follow once you’ve become a lottery winner.
The first thing to do upon discovering your fortune is to secure your ticket. It is advisable to make several copies of both sides to present to your legal advisor, and for added security lock it away in a bank safe deposit box or a very secure personal safe.
After you’ve gotten a legal team in place, ensure that you immediately sign the winning lottery ticket, as it is a “bearer” instrument—meaning legally, whoever holds the ticket is the recognized winner.
There’s the popular saying that money cannot buy happiness and in fact, lots of people have noted that wining the lottery comes with a whole lot of stress.
From using a scratchmania bonus coupon to waking up a multi-millionaire, the pressures of winning the lottery can be overwhelming—particularly considering the numerous requests for help from strangers and family members alike.
Therefore, it is important to take good care of yourself as being super wealthcomes with its own level of extreme stress.
“While everybody handles these things differently, it’s not uncommon to experience anxiety, paranoia, or even a strange out-of-body feeling,” warns financial planner Robert Pagliarini in a report.
“For some, these feelings are fleeting, but for others, they can persist and make it hard to sleep, function and make logical decisions.””
Always eat right, exercise often, talk to close family and friends and in cases were the emotional strain of sudden wealth becomes too much, seek professional counsel.
Another important step is the need to assemble a team. Every lottery winner is going to need a lawyer, an accountant and a financial advisor who have vast experience managing large financial windfalls.
They are needed as you prepare for a new level of tax and financial complications that you’ve never been exposed to before.
“You want to meet with a retirement planner, a financial advisor, an attorney, a CPA,” said financial adviser Mike Kojenen. “You need to put some roadblocks up to protect yourself and your privacy.”
Additionally, one of the very first decisions you and your team will have to make is whether to take your winnings in one lump sum—which is usually around 60% of the total value—or have it paid out to you in annuity. They can also help plan in advance against predatory claims against your acquired assets.
Also, a great way to pave the path for your future is by paying off your existing debts – credit cards, student loans etc.
Now, as tempting as it can be to run around the neighbour screaming on the top of your lungs about winning the lottery, its best to keep as much as possible to yourself and prepare adequately for publicity.
Some lotteries would always require that to claim your money, you will need to reveal your fortune and identity to the world—with only Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas allowinganonymity.
It is important to have a public relations strategy in place before you claim your prize as news reporters will definitely come to talk to you, your family or your friends. If you then choose to be your own spokesperson, the best strategy is to know in advance what you want to share, and when to share it – or better still, hire a professional to speak on your behalf.
On a final note, you should be prepared for a change in reality. Like the popular saying, “money changes people”, and the realization of become an instant millionaire can have a lot of effect on your life.
“Step outside the craziness of the situation for a moment and make a list of Who and What you love about your life that you don’t want to change,” said Pagliarini. “Money is best when you use it to improve your life, not necessarily change it.”