Mega Millions Lottery Winner Gets $540 Million: 12 Things Not to Do With the Money

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It had to happen sometime. One Mega Millions lottery ticket sold in Indiana will cash-in for whopping $540 million for the annuity value, or $381 million for the cash value. The winning ticket was drawn Friday, July 8. The Powerball lottery drawing on Saturday, July 9, sports an annuity value of $288 million and has a $201.4 million cash value.

Friday’s winner takes home the third largest Mega Millions jackpot ever after the drawing’s longest-ever run without a winner. Since the last winning Mega Millions ticket was drawn, an estimated $1 billion in tickets had been sold.

What lottery players will want to keep in mind here is that the record Mega Millions jackpot is $656 million. Until Friday’s drawing, the largest amount won on a single ticket was $326 million on November 4, 2014.

It is becoming ever more obvious that the new American Dream is winning the lottery. If you can become filthy rich in an instant, that just sounds a lot better and more fun than a lifetime of hard work, saving and budgeting. And of course there is the media floodgate that keeps telling the public that it is just too hard to get ahead in the old-fashioned way these days.

Whether lottery winners take the annuity or the cash option, lottery jackpots of this size should generate multi-generational wealth. To bend a more common phrase: 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 guidelines.

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Can you imagine winning a cash sum of $100 million, $200 million, $300 million or more? Even after backing out all the cash-option discounts and the massive taxes, this is multi-generational empire-building money. The sad reality of the lottery is much lower than its lure. Many lottery winners ignore all the warning signs, and many lottery winners end up totally broke just a few years after becoming filthy rich.

Maybe it seems hard to imagine that you could blow through hundreds of millions of dollars. The reality today is that it has become incredibly easy to blow even a fortune of that size. Temptation and careless planning and actions can now wipe out almost any vast sum of millions of dollars in short order.

Many pitfalls await lottery winners and those who unexpectedly come into instant wealth. Family relationships and friendships will be challenged. Bragging about the win can be dangerous (and deadly). Getting immediate financial advice and tax advice is a must, as is a realistic budget. Playing ATM and banker for friends and family can wipe you out. Learning the world of high finance is an absolute must. And thinking you are now smart just because you got lucky will doom you. If all these points sound too extreme or silly, then please understand this message: the odds are high that you are a prime candidate to go broke very shortly after becoming filthy rich overnight.

Start tallying up the cost to buy and the costs to keep things like jets and yachts, or mega-mansions and third and fourth homes — or buying a private island or keeping an entourage. What about the multimillion dollar art auctions? What about buying tickets to fly into space or renting out a cruise liner for all of your friends and family. The list of temptations is endless and anyone can now spend hundreds of millions in a few days if they put their mind to it.

Hopefully this is acting as a reality check. Our entire effort behind the 12 things not to do if you win the lottery guidelines is to keep anyone from going broke. 24/7 Wall St. does not want any lottery winner, or those who come into instant wealth, to go broke. Again, with extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility, and you should only have to become rich once.

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