What 5 Things Should You Do If You Win The Lottery?

Updated: Oct 28, 2018

You have won the lottery. Let that sink in. Now, what should you do now that you are beyond rich? The following are some great tips even if you are simply working hard and have now obtained wealth, or if you are just plain lucky and have actually won the lottery!

1. Remain As Anonymous As Possible

Once people know you're suddenly wealthy, you can be bothered by everyone from "friends" and relatives -- not to mention financial "experts" who simply want your business. So check state rules to see whether you can remain anonymous if you win the lottery.

Rules on winner publicity vary by state. In New York, for example, winners' names are a public record. Elsewhere it may be possible to maintain your anonymity by setting up a trust or limited liability company to receive the winnings

Depending on where you bought the ticket, prize winners have between 180 days and one year from the date of the drawing to claim their prize. So find out what the state rules are.

2. Avoid sudden lifestyle changes. For the first six months after you win the lottery, don't do anything drastic such as: quitting your job, buying a home in somewhere foreign, or other outlandish things. Set aside a fixed amount for splurges though, after all, you want to celebrate!

Save the big purchases for later. Rent a house first, so you can decide where you really want to buy. Write down your lottery dreams, both current and future purchases and think about which items you really want.

3. Pay Off Your Debts

Pay off your debts. Whether it is credit card debt or a mortgage, pay if off. When you’ve paid down a dollar of debt, that's instant gratification, you no longer owe it.

4. Hire A Team of Legal and Tax Advisers

You get the choice of receiving the payout in the form of a lump sum or an annuity over a 30-year period. You will want to compare the effective yield of the annuity with what you could earn by taking the money as a lump sum, paying the taxes and investing the proceeds. Or you may prefer the instant money.

Handpicking your own lawyer, accountant and investment advisor, and requiring them to work together.

Carefully vet and interview each advisor before discussing your situation. Check broker records at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. For attorneys and insurance agents, see whether there have been any complaints filed with state disciplinary authorities.

If you live in a small community and don't want lawyers there to know your business, seek out a professional in the nearest large city. Names can be found on martindale.com, the nationwide lawyers’ directory that you can search by location and area of practice, and on the Web site of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a group of trust and estate lawyers.

5. PLAN...Enjoy Your Money, But Don't Spend It All

Write down your "Lottery Plan". This is the fun part. Write down your debt, how much you owe, pay it off, then cross it off. You can place your plan into two categories: "Now" and "Future". Write down the items you want and the amount. Don't forget the total amount. Goi out and buy the things you want now; but realistic based on your lottery winnings and don't forget your taxes. Be grateful for you luck and enjoy your newfound wealth!


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