Special Report

Twelve Things Not to Do If You Win the Lottery

Become the business backer for all your friends and family. One common theme that has come up with lottery winners (and judgment winners) who suddenly get vast sums of cash is that their friends and family start pitching them on endless business ideas. Sure, some will sound great and some will sound crazy.

If someone has no knowledge of a particular business and does not know what it takes to actually run a business, will they do better because a lottery winner who lucked into vast wealth gave them money to start it? If your answer is yes, you seriously need to protect yourself — from yourself!

Give away the whole enchilada. This is probably not the case for the vast majority of lottery players, but some people might want to give away just about all of their money to a charity or to their religious institution. You can be generous without doing the unthinkable. Imagine what you will feel like down the road when a serious crisis arises in your life or your family’s life, knowing that you no longer had the means to change it.

Should you be charitable? Absolutely! Should you give it all away? Absolutely not!

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Get celebrity and athlete envy. Keeping up with the Jonses is bad enough, but definitely do not try to keep up with the Kardashians or other celebrities. It may seem cool to own a 200-foot yacht. It may seem practical that certain celebrities have an entourage, or to have a film crew following you around. It may seem cool owning castles in Europe. Owning an original Picasso painting sure sounds impressive. Having a big new private jet makes sense for a lot of people. Trying to dodge taxes might even sound appealing to misguided people.

Now go add up the price tags of these things, plus the cool cars and houses and the rest of it. You can go broke real quick. Just ask people like Nicolas Cage, Wesley Snipes, MC Hammer, Evander Holyfield and many other famous people who had it all and ended up broke how they feel about things.

Think that laws and decency standards no longer apply. It is true that the wealthier you get, the better attorneys and legal defense you can afford. That being said, living a reckless life without concerns about the laws of the land will not keep you from going to prison (or worse). A good sports coach will tell any star athlete upfront that chances are high they will have to be human for far longer than they are going to stars.

Movies often glamorize scoundrels, but what good does it do you if you are incredibly wealthy and such a pariah that no one will associate with you? Remember, you don’t get to take any of your wealth with you.

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Again, 24/7 Wall St. would not want anyone who wins the lottery to end up without a penny to their name (or worse). Following a list of things to do or not do sounds easy enough. Unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way of logic.