Powerball jackpot rises to $1 billion 0:53
(WABNEWS) — Did you win the lottery? Congratulations! Once you’re done screaming and dancing under a shower of champagne, take a moment to compose yourself and start thinking about the more pragmatic aspects of your new life as a billionaire.
The millionaire Powerball draw will take place this Wednesday night. And Friday’s Mega Millions drawing has an estimated value of $720 million, with a cash value of $369.6 million.RELATED
What will you do with the money? Do you keep the lump sum or the annuity paid over time? How much will you donate to charities, friends and family?
The first is the first. According to experts, you shouldn’t tell anyone.
Before you let the world know about your sudden wealth, and even before you contact lottery officials, it’s best to seek out a team of lawyers and financial advisers.
Most states won’t allow you to claim your prize anonymously, which means you’ll have to act fast to protect yourself before the vultures or new friends surround you.
And even if it seems obvious, don’t forget to document your prize. Make copies of both sides of your lottery ticket and keep them locked up somewhere only you can access.
Then get to work. And there really is a lot to do.
“I think it may be more of a curse than a blessing for some, because of all the work that needs to be done,” Belinda Herzig, a wealth strategist at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, told WABNEWS late last year, when the Powerball jackpot it was this high last time.
Hiring a lawyer should be a priority. And not just any lawyer.
“Look for a lawyer who has experience dealing with people with this level of wealth, because it’s different,” says Herzig.
That means looking for a specialist at a large national law firm.
Next, you’ll need an accountant and financial adviser to protect your wealth from “creditors and predators,” as Herzig puts it.
Again, you’ll need to look for experts at large institutions who have experience with all of this. (Your neighbor Gary the accountant may be a great friend who has done your taxes before, but he almost certainly hasn’t dealt with wealth like you lucky lottery winner is dealing with.)
Another thing to keep in mind: it pays to be a good person. One of the biggest Powerball winners will be the IRS, which receives its share of the federal income tax, Herzig says. But you can offset some of your tax liability by using philanthropy as a way to receive a charitable deduction.
Once you’re all set and have a strong financial team you trust, ask those advisers to review the lottery rules before signing the original ticket, according to Simple Insights, State Farm’s consumer advice site.
The rest is personal finance basics: pay off debt, save for college, diversify your investments, and maintain a solid emergency fund. Your team of experts can manage everything for you.
But there’s a big piece of the lottery puzzle you can’t leave in the hands of lawyers: your mental health.
Many former winners serve as a warning about the psychological impact of sudden wealth and all the changes that come with it.