Even though the odds are in nobody’s favor, many people dream about winning the lottery and becoming rich. The dream is so strong that every year, an average American spends over $1,000 on lottery tickets.
For a moment, let’s imagine you’ve won the lottery. If you’re a fresh lottery winner yourself, that’s even better – you’ve stumbled upon this article at the right time. You may be wondering how to handle your situation in order to not regret your choices later. Keep on reading to find out what you should consider doing before you rush to claim your prize and start spending the money.
Secure Your Ticket
You won’t be able to claim your prize without a valid ticket. Sadly, history knows way too many cases of people who lost their winning ticket, had it stolen, gave it away carelessly, or simply threw it away. If you realize you’ve won the lottery, take all possible measures to protect your ticket. You can start by signing it on the back and keeping it in a safe place until you decide to claim your winnings.
Keep It a Secret
If you win the lottery, you can understandably feel like you’re on cloud nine. However, experts at https://www.lotterycritic.com/ strongly advise against sharing the news with the whole world, or even your friends and family, at least for the time being. Be vocal about your winnings, and you’ll attract unnecessary attention, not only from your loved ones but also from the media and people whose only goal is to use you.
Don’t Rush to Collect but Don’t Be Late
Huge jackpot winners tend to get lots of attention, even when their names are still not known to the public. Claim your prize too soon, and you won’t be able to escape from nosy journalists and TV crews. Some people may find such kind of publicity exciting. However, you may soon fall victim to the infamous lottery curse, and you’ll end up wishing you haven’t won in the first place.
It’s wise to wait a bit and figure out your next steps. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to claim your prize at some point. The claim period differs depending on the state and ranges from 90 days in New Mexico up to one year in states like Michigan, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania.
Hire Financial Experts
Chances are you don’t have a degree in economics and may be conflicted with what to do with your money. Usually, the bigger the sum, the bigger the confusion, and it’s easy to make wrong decisions. Besides, you’ll have taxes to pay, and if your family situation isn’t stable enough, you may want to protect your assets as well.
Regardless of your personal reasons, it’s always better to hire a professional to help you deal with your finances. Consider reaching out to a tax attorney to legally minimize your tax liability, family law, or estate planning attorney to help you create wills, trusts, or prenuptial agreements. You can also hire a certified accountant for assistance with your finances and annual tax preparation process.
If your state allows it, you can remain anonymous. It comes in handy for the reasons we mentioned earlier – when people learn that you came into large amounts of money, they’re more than likely to come to you for handouts, donations, gifts, and financial support. However, these regulations differ depending on the state, and some of them, like New York, make winners’ names known to the public. In states like Kansas or South Carolina, you can remain fully anonymous. Other states make it possible to keep a low profile by claiming the prize money on behalf of the trust or by setting a limited liability company.
Avoid Sudden Lifestyle Changes
You probably already know what you would spend your money on if you won the lottery. You may be tempted to start spending your winnings right away, but it’s actually better to wait at least six months or even a year before you make your dreams come true. If you start buying designer items, purchase a brand new car, buy a house, or quit your job, it’s going to look more than suspicious, and people will know that something is going on. However, you can protect your privacy by getting an unlisted number, changing your email address, making your social media accounts private, and switching your primary address for all correspondence.
Pay off Your Debts
Before you’ve won the lottery, chances are you hadn’t been financially well-off and took out some loans to be able to afford whatever you needed at that moment. Maybe it’s a mortgage, a credit card debt, a student loan, or all of the above and more, it’s always best to live your life debt-free. As such, before you start spending your winnings, make sure you put some amount of money apart to cover any financial liabilities you’ve made in the past.
Last but not least, don’t forget to celebrate winning the lottery! You beat the odds and made your dream come true; now, you can relax and start allocating your newly acquired funds. If you’re on good terms with your family, feel free to share the news with them so you can celebrate together. If you end up winning a significant amount of money and allocate it wisely, you may just as well be secure financially for the rest of your life, and that’s a big deal.
The Bottom Line
Winning the lottery is no likely feat. After all, the odds are tough, and there are many hopeful players who want to hit the jackpot as much as you do. You probably know what you want to spend the money on, and acquiring a significant amount of money would be a life-changing event for you.
Supposing you win the lottery, it’s a feeling like no other. However, coming into a large sum of money won’t solve all your problems. On the contrary, it can greatly complicate your life if you approach it unwisely. Avoid excessive spending and boasting, and don’t burn through your winnings as fast as you can. Make reasonable financial decisions, and you’ll be able to live comfortably for the rest of your life, help your family, friends, and charitable organizations. Good luck!