The Powerball is offering a $620 million jackpot as the Mega Millions jackpot reaches $1.6 billion

By Emily Zauzmer
October 23, 2018 11:10 AM
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As the Mega Million jackpot reaches unprecedented worth, what can you expect if you just happen to hold the lucky ticket?

On Tuesday, the Mega Millions jackpot is worth a record-setting $1.6 billion (or $905 million in cash), CNN reported. On Wednesday, the Powerball is offering a $620 million jackpot.

The odds of nabbing the grand Mega Millions prize are one in 303 million, according to Reuters. But if you happen to be the lucky one, a Reddit user advised that the winner keep mum about the windfall, hire a lawyer, come up with a financial plan and jet away on a vacation to remain under the radar — in that order.

Many lottery winners go astray after their stroke of fortune. “You assume money makes you happy or takes care of all your problems. But money doesn’t do that,” financial planner Jim Shagawat told NBC News. “And it can cause friction with family and friends.”

To avoid these pitfalls, the winner should take first step of securing the ticket and retaining the services of a financial planner, according to the Associated Press. The winner can step forward for up to 180 days or for up to a year after the drawing, based on the state’s rules.

Depending on the state, the winner can expect to part with about half of the riches in taxes, according to the AP. The winner has a series of decisions to make, like whether to opt for an annuity or cash and whether to stay anonymous.

A winner in Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas can hide his or her identity, ABC News reported. A Georgia winner of at least $250,000 can also stay on the lowdown. In some states, a winner can establish a trust to get around going public.

Mega Millions

After 90 days, Arizona makes the identity of a winner of at least $600 accessible in the public record. Michigan and New Hampshire normally make a winner acknowledge the result publicly, according to ABC News.

Jason Kurland, a New York attorney who specializes in lottery winners told NBC News, “The biggest mistake I see is people who try to do this on their own right from the get-go. Those are the ones who put themselves out in the open, who can’t limit their exposure, and are now an easy target for people, whether it’s a bogus charity coming to you or someone with an investment that’s a [supposed] no-lose situation.”

Lottery hopefuls already have big plans if they take home the bonanza.

CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

“We talked about opening a school,’’ Californian Mik Gaspay told USA Today of his and his wife’s idea. “Obviously you could buy whatever you wanted, but what would be a worthwhile thing? It would be amazing to be able to create a homeless shelter, solutions, actually doing things for the community. It seems like just buying stuff would get so boring.’’

“I would buy my own island,” Tiffany Cullen, who manages a 7-Eleven in Florida, told the outlet.

“Other than paying off bills and taking care of family, I think I’d have the most fun going around and doing surprise good deeds for people,” Michelle Connaghan said in Nebraska. “And I’m sure we’d take some pretty awesome vacations while we were going around doing our surprise good deeds.”