1. Do not forget to sign the ticket and do not forget to report to the state.
It may seem crazy that people might not sign a ticket. It seems even crazier that they might lose a ticket, or fail to report to the state that they won. Can you imagine losing a lottery ticket? Then imagine what can happen if someone else snags your ticket and shows up to collect the prize. Fighting over this is no simple task and disputes have arisen over who owns what ticket.
In a way, lottery tickets are almost considered the last form of bearer bonds that anyone can collect on if they show up with the coupons and bonds. You have to sign and secure that ticket, and you then have to report to the state.
2. Do not dare run out and tell everyone you know.
If you are lucky enough to win millions of dollars, chances are pretty high that you will to want to brag about it to everyone you know. How could you not? Still, keep quiet for now. The problem is that telling everyone you know before you collect your winning puts you in danger, and in more ways that just one. Everyone who has ever done anything for you now may come with their hands out asking for something, or worse.
You may have heard of kidnap and ransom insurance before. Sadly, more than one lottery winner became a murder victim. If you can manage it, and if your state allows it, try to remain anonymous for as long as possible. How you became vastly wealthy will be found out in time anyway, but there is no need to hurry that along and jeopardizing yourself.
3. Do not just decide to take the cash option without any consideration.
Taking it all now may sound good rather than getting money over a lifetime. Supposedly some 70% of lottery winners end up broke again, many within a couple or few years. Let’s say that you can choose to get $198 million up front, or you can choose to receive a payout of $293 million slowly over the course of a lifetime. Most people choose the lump sum rather than the annuity payment. After all, it is instant empire-making money.
Go see a reputable and visible tax professional and a reputable investment advisor at a top money management firm with a widely recognized company name and a long corporate history. This theme of “reputable and visible” will echo throughout. Do this before you automatically make the decision about a lump-sum or annuity option.
4. Do not think you are suddenly the smartest person to manage your finances.
Lottery winners need to immediately get outside financial advice. If you were living paycheck to paycheck before, does it seem logical that someone will know the best things to invest in and the best tax and asset protection strategies? There are many ways to invest and protect that fortune. Strategies of the wealthy often go way beyond buying stocks and bonds and letting the investments ride. As far as who to use, or who not to use, chances are very high that your drinking buddy might not be the best choice as an advisor and expert.
Having a solid and respectable team of advisors and managers from reputable firms in place will act as your buffer to protect your assets now and in the future. Do you know how to protect your assets against all threats and know exactly how to protect your estate in case you die or become incapacitated? Here is a very real hint – If you answered yes, you probably did not bother playing the lottery.