Hell froze over, Channing Tatum or Scarlett Johansson agreed to go out with you this weekend, Kim Kardashian won the Nobel Peace Prize and you, lucky person, have beaten nearly incomprehensible odds to win the Powerball lottery.
All one-and-a-half-billion-with-a-B bucks (as of Tuesday morning) of it. So now what?
First, take a breath. Then think hard about what you are, and aren’t, going to do with your once-in-a-lifetime haul and prepare yourself for an experience that’ll affect your emotions as it much as it will your bank account.
Powerball is a multistate lottery game that runs in 44 states. While Powerball tickets aren’t sold in Nevada, Nevadans — as they’re wont to do whenever the Powerball jackpot hits astronomical heights — have been crossing the border to score tickets for the next drawing, scheduled for Wednesday evening.
If your numbers are actually pulled, your first decision will be whether to take your winnings in the form of an annuity that’ll pay you that $1.5 billion over a period of 30 years or a one-time cash payout of a lesser but still hard-to-wrap-your-brain-around single cash payout of $930 million.
Christopher Jones, a certified financial planner and founder of Sparrow Wealth Management in Las Vegas, says your own plans for retirement and the rest of your life will help to determine the best option for you.
The lump sum-versus-annuity question “comes down to how comfortable you are managing money or working with a financial adviser to manage it,” Jones says. “It’s about risk versus return. If it’s a lump sum, you could have more control over how it’s managed. It could potentially earn a higher return and, therefore, give more opportunities for you to grow your money and do something with it.”
In contrast, opting for regular payments might be a good choice for people who “are not as comfortable with the idea of managing it,” Jones says. And while you may not earn as high a return on it versus managing it yourself, it’ll be there for you until the day you die.
Of course, your lottery win will have tax consequences. That’s another reason, Jones says, that “the very first thing you should do is hire a financial adviser and some professionals … and they should start building a plan based on (your) goals and long-term needs. And if it’s a married couple, it should be the two of them together sitting down with an adviser.”
Ultimately, Jones says, the decision “really is based on what your goals are and what personal challenges there are going to be.”
Most people have no experience managing a significant chunk of money, Jones says, and that’s true whether the money arrives via lottery or an inheritance.
“People think, ‘Oh, I don’t have to worry about money anymore.’ No, actually, it’s the opposite when you win the lottery, because you have a lot more to worry about with money than you ever had before, and the decisions are emotional decisions.”
In fact, as a newly minted lottery winner, “you’re going to have a whole potential group of new best friends,” Jones says. “Family members who have written you off all of a sudden will be quite interested and have expectations of what you should be doing with them. Kids and ex-spouses and everyone is going to come out the woodwork and want something from you.
“So it’s a whole different set of challenges people have to deal with, and, honestly, they often can be a bigger challenge than not having money at all.”
“So think about those kinds of decisions, and establish some policies as to how you’re going to handle those requests and how you’re going to interrelate with people in your life,” Jones says.
“You’ve heard that most lottery winners spend through their money the first couple of years. That’s probably hard to do with a billion dollars, but the reason that happens is because people often finance the lifestyles of their so-called friends, and that’s the hard part: Figuring out how you interact with friends.”
— Read more from John Przybys at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.