What Do You Do When You Win the Lottery?

Sure, we have all fantasized about it: the impulse purchase of a $5 lottery ticket at the grocery store turns out to be an action that changes your life forever. You now have all the money you need to fulfill those long-held fantasies and help out all of your friends and family.

But have you ever sat down and thought what it would be like to win…and then take the next steps? Here are some of the things that previous big winners have done:

  • Money management. Yes, you will now have a lot of money, but you have to think long and hard about what to do with it. You can’t just shove millions of dollars into a basic savings account. Should you invest? If so, how? How will you save the money? How much money can your local financial institution even hold for you and insure? Make an appointment with a financial planner…before you cash the ticket in.
  • Unwanted attention. It’s a shame that big winners are announced in the press because that guarantees they will be besieged by people, some legit and some not, asking them for a piece of that jackpot. If you are a very private person, this can be quite disturbing and stressful. Even if you aren’t, it’s still a major pain. Fortunately, some areas allow winners to remain anonymous.
  • Don’t go on a spending spree, but do pay off your debts. It can be tempting to go nuts with your newfound wealth, but you should instead set limits on how much you can spend in a day, a week, a month, and a year. One thing you should definitely put cash towards are your debts: wipe them out for good.
  • Investigate inheritance tax. Look into what the laws are in your area. Everyone wants to leave money to their friends and family, but how much will the government take? Are there ways to minimize that?
  • Continuing doing some kind of work. You may be overjoyed to quit your job, but do try to keep busy in some way once all of the dust has settled. If you don’t need income anymore, volunteering is an excellent way to give back.


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