Take this to heart: If it sounds silly that you need to set up a strict financial plan and to put up safeguards to protect your new empire-money, then you are already at severe risk of going broke if you ever become filthy rich. Getting rich is hard enough as is. It’s even harder keeping all that newfound wealth. Again, no one should ever have to get rich twice.
Here are the 12 things you better not do if you win the lottery.
1. Do not forget to sign that winning ticket and to report it immediately.
It may seem ridiculous that some people might fail to sign a winning lottery ticket. Or that a winner would forget to report the winning ticket to the state? It has happened. Now imagine if you have the winning ticket and it is stolen. Or think about if it burns up in a house fire. Endless millions of lottery dollars have gone unclaimed. Some people somehow manage to not report to the state that they won.
Now imagine how you would feel if you lost a winning lottery ticket. Or what about if someone else takes your winning ticket and then shows up to collect the prize? Fighting over a winning lottery ticket is no simple task, and disputes have arisen over who was the real owner of winning lottery tickets.
In more ways than not, a winning lottery ticket is like the last form of bearer bonds. Whoever shows up with the right paper gets paid. You have to sign and secure that ticket, and you then have to report to the state.
2. Do not brag about winning the lottery to anyone.
Who upon winning tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars wouldn’t want to share the news with everyone they know? How could you not? Do not dare do this! Keep quiet for as you can. Your friends or family members cannot be trusted to keep your secret a secret.
Telling everyone you know before you collect your winnings can put you in danger. That is danger in more ways than just one. Everyone who has ever done anything for you now may come with their hands out asking for something. You may even become a target. You may have heard of kidnap and ransom insurance before.
It is sad to report that some lottery winners became murder victims, and for far less than the massive empire-building jackpots. 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. Do not rush out and hurry that process along and jeopardize yourself.
3. Do not decide to take the lump sum cash option without considering the big picture.
Whether it is $50 million, $200 million or $500 million, most people elect to receive a lump sum today rather than getting money sent out over a lifetime. A figure that has been cited in the media is that around 70% of lottery winners end up broke again. Some manage to go broke within a few years. Let’s say that you can choose to get over $200 million in a lump sum payment; do you know for sure without consideration that is a better choice than receiving a payout of $375 million slowly over the course of a lifetime?
Again most people choose the lump sum rather than taking 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 start thinking that you are now the smartest person about finance.
Winning millions of dollars instantly does not make you any smarter about money than you were right before you found out you hit it rich. In fact, it might prove to make you realize that you knew very little about money. Lottery winners, and those who come into unexpected vast sums of cash, need to immediately get outside financial advice. If you are living paycheck to paycheck before the lottery, does it seem logical that you suddenly know the best things to invest in? How likely is it that you will immediately know the best tax and asset protection strategies?
There are many ways to invest and to protect that new fortune. Strategies of the extremely wealthy often go way beyond just buying stocks and bonds and letting those 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 financial advisors and managers from reputable firms 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.