There are many blunders that can come with sudden wealth, but the aftermath of the largest single payout in the Mega Millions jackpot illustrates one of the biggest screw-ups lottery winners make: not safeguarding the ticket.
It may seem an obvious precaution, but in April, a 37-year-old woman came forward, claiming to be one of the three winners of the record $656 million Mega Millions payout, but was unable to produce the ticket. Sorry, no dice. The ticket has to be present for you to win. Let's look at a few other examples of what lottery winners do wrong, provided by Frank Fantozzi, CEO of Planned Financial Services, and published in Investment News.
They change their lifestyle too much. Rocketing yourself into the stratosphere of the uber-rich may seem fun for a while, but you may later regret losing touch with the common folk who used to be your friends and family.
They don't have a financial plan. Having a road map is essential. Otherwise, it's too easy to spend as if you have a bottomless pit. You don't. It’s a good reason lottery winners don't come forward immediately; they're developing a financial strategy first.
They think they're getting all the money. Up to 50 percent will go toward taxes, so before commissioning the yacht, make sure you know how much you really have.
They don't get professional advice. Attorneys and accountants can save you a lot in taxes and help you design a plan that will not leave you wondering where all the money went after a few years.
They don't follow their own instincts. This may sound counterintuitive to getting professional advice, but it's not. People will come out of the woodwork to offer help, so make sure you choose wisely and find a team that is prudent with an immediate plan as well as one for the long term.
They make stupid investments. See the tip above: Everyone will have a "hot" investment tip. Don't fall for it.
Do you play the lottery? What's your dream if you win?
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