What Is Your Plan for Your Powerball Billion?
We've talked about it before, but with the Powerball Jackpot at over a billion (yup billion- -with a b!) I thought this would be a good time to revisit what we should do when we win. Yes, I know the dream remains the same; pay all your bills, pay all your family's bills, buy new vehicles, pay off your mortgage or buy new homes, travel, never work paycheck-to-paycheck again. . .or perhaps that's just me.
In any case, if you do win, history has proven that without a plan, you're putting yourself, your newfound wealth and possibly your life in jeopardy. Bankruptcy, robbery, legal problems and even murder are just a few of the issues former lottery winners have dealt with. So, let me reiterate something your parents probably have said to you since you were a toddler, "Be careful what you ask for!".
With that out of the way, there are things you can do to mitigate the universe rewarding you and then biting you in the butt all in one fell swoop. Jordi Lippe-McGraw is a writer for Today.com and she spoke with multiple experts in order to help those of us who will be dealing with untold riches soon, navigate our way through the morass of problems which lie in wait.
- Sign your ticket and put it in a secure place! This is the first thing every lottery and legal expert who exists in the universe right now advises a lottery winner to do.
- Stay quiet, leave town for awhile and don't claim the money right away, no matter how excited you are. Stay anonymous as long as you possibly can. Don't blab to anyone, even family and friends, because as well-meaning as they may be, their financial advice may not the best.
- Hire professionals to manage your money-You need an estate attorney to structure and protect your new assets and you need a financial planner who can act as a buffer between you and everyone who'll be asking you for money!
- Pay off debts as soon as possible, don't let them continue. Just in case you really screw up and lose the rest of it, (fully one third of all lottery winners declare bankruptcy) at least you'll be debt free.
- Don't forget about taxes-Because there will be a lot of them. Right up front you might as well count on approximately half going to your Uncle Sam. You'll also have (if you do it right) investment income that you'll be taxed on every year.
- Yes, you still need a BUDGET!-Your financial adviser can tell you how much you'll have to live on every month. Yes you'll still be able to make those dream purchases, remember, you're a millionaire! (After taxes, remember?)
Good luck and if you win, remember I was the one who gave you all this great advice and it must be worth something. Right?