You’ve Won the Powerball Jackpot – Do This Before You Claim the Money
The Powerball Jackpot for Wednesday's (January 13) drawing is estimated to be at least $1.4 billion. While the chances of winning are very slim, it's still possible. Before you claim the money and become a billionaire, you absolutely need to do this.
The most important thing is not to tell anybody. Yeah, you'll want to run through the streets claiming you're a billionaire and start shopping for everything you've ever dreamed of, but that's the worst thing you can do. You'll have plenty of time for that after you've claimed the jackpot.
While keeping your mouth shut and trying to act normally, NerdWallet says these are the key things you really need to take care of before showing up at the lottery office.
- Change your phone number and make sure your home is well secured.
- Check your family tree and any prenuptial agreements. Alleged long lost relatives and scammers will come out of the woodwork once they know you've won.
- Gather all the paperwork for any existing assets you have including investments, life insurance and retirement accounts and make sure the beneficiaries are correct. If you don't have a good financial planner, now's the time to get one.
- Don't count your money until you actually have it. Being an instant billionaire does have its disadvantages, including putting you in an astronomical tax bracket. That money will be deducted before you get the payout. How much you get also depends on whether you take the cash or the annuity.
- Hire a very good lawyer. A third party acting on your behalf will help discourage people from taking advantage of you. Also, the 'you'll need to talk to my lawyer' response is a great way to deflect unnecessary attention and stress on you and your family.
- Google past lottery winners. You can learn a lot about their success and even more about their failures. There are plenty of rags to riches back to rags stories out there.
- Act and think like the person you were before you won. Sure, you can buy almost anything you want, but do you need to? Everything you were doing before like budgeting, researching purchases and saving for bigger ticket items still apply.
- Approach wealth as if you're building it the old fashioned way. Even though you didn't, thinking this way will keep your mind on the mission of living comfortably and unlike a lot of people, debt-free.
- Be prepared for a lot of publicity. Once you collect the check, the whole world will know who you are. You'll become an instant celebrity and have all the trappings - good and bad - of being famous.