Thinking about what you would do if you won a large lottery jackpot? They say the odds are long, but rarely does a week go by that we don't hear of someone that actually guessed the right numbers or scratched the lucky ticket. So in the spirit of good thoughts bring good fortunes, we thought we would let you in on a few do's and don’ts we've learned by working with lottery winners and other sudden wealth recipients over the past 30+ years.
Even after many years of daydreaming about 'what you would do if...', we can tell you from experience if you are one of these lucky individuals, recognize that any sudden wealth event will likely bring about extreme emotions such as anxiety, disbelief, and even faintness. So take a deep breath, make a copy of the ticket, protect it, and treat it like cash until you turn it in at the claims center.
Here are a few other do's and don'ts to keep in mind:
- Only tell others on a need-to-know basis. By all means don't post it on any social media site. Privacy and discretion are more important now than ever before.
- Accepting a significant amount of money is a huge responsibility, so don’t rush into any big decisions.
- You should only make the big decisions after you’ve assembled a team experienced with sudden wealth. This team will be your guide and advocate and can help you handle everything from gift requests, investment ideas, tax and legal issues, PR, and even the emotional burdens.
- Of course the money needs to go somewhere - either a bank or other solid financial institution. The key here is safety and easy access because this may or may not be the ultimate home for your millions. It's just a parking place for now.
Should you even play the lottery? Well, that's up to you. Just don't overspend and don't include it in your retirement plan... unless you win of course.