As Mega Millions Lottery Alone Reaches $508 Million, What Not to Do If You Win

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The Mega Millions lottery keeps rolling higher and higher, with a new record nearing. July’s jackpot has now reached $508 million for the annuity value. This generates a $357 million for the cash value, and the drawing will be Friday, July 8, 2016.

What matters here is that the jackpot has been rolling since it was last won at $157 million on March 8. Mega Millions’ only other jackpot awarded this year was a $169 million prize won on January 8. What is even more important is that the all-time record Mega Millions jackpot is $656 million.

It seems fairly obvious now that the new American Dream is winning the lottery. Becoming filthy rich in an instant sounds a lot more exciting than a life of hard work, savings and being responsible. On top of that, the media and the politicians keep telling you that it is just too hard to get ahead the old-fashioned way these days.

The Mega Millions annuity value of $508 million generates a lump sum cash value of $357 million. But don’t forget about the Powerball lottery — its drawing for Wednesday, July 6, 2016, was for a $257 million annuity value or $179.7 million cash value.

Whether lottery winners take the annuity or the cash option, either lottery would bring generating multi-generational wealth. Sudden and extreme wealth brings the need for sudden and extreme responsibility. This is why 24/7 Wall St. has created the 12 Things Not to Do If You Win the Lottery.

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Can you imagine winning a cash sum of more than $300 million? Even after you back out the cash discounts and the massive taxes, this winner just received empire-building money. Sadly, the reality of the lottery is much less clear and much less realistic than its lure. Many lottery winners ignore all the warning signs, and some have gone absolutely broke just a few years after becoming filthy rich.

Maybe it seems hard to imagine that you could blow through $100 million, let alone more than $300 million or more. The new reality is that it has become incredibly easy to blow even a fortune of that size. Temptations, followed by careless actions and no planning, can wipe out almost any sum of millions in short order.

There are many things that lead lottery winners down the wrong path. Family relationships and friendships get challenged. Bragging can be dangerous, and even deadly. You will need immediate financial advice and tax advice, and you will need a budget in place immediately. Acting as the ATM and banker for friends and family will wipe you out. Knowing the world of high finance is a must. Thinking you know everything because of a lucky draw won’t teach you about money, not without some effort. If all of these points sound too extreme or like they are silly, then the odds are high that you are a prime candidate to go broke after gaining massive wealth.

Buying jets and yachts or mega-mansions and third and fourth homes, owning private islands, keeping an entourage, buying tickets to fly into space, throwing Gatsby-styled parties — the list is endless. You can literally spend hundreds of millions in a few days and be wiped out if you do not create safeguards.

Hopefully a reality check is setting in. The whole point of 12 Things Not to Do If You Win the Lottery is that there are more temptations than there are reality checks. 24/7 Wall St. simply just does not want to see anyone who gets rich go broke. Again, extreme wealth brings extreme responsibility. It is important to recall that you should only have to become rich once.

Here are the 12 things not to do if you win the lottery.