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Biggest lottery-winner goofs

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Friday, June 8, 2012
Posted: 10 am ET

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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103 Comments
Crystal Fountain
June 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I would take 10% of my net winnings and donate to my church. Then I would put enough money into a trust for my son to attend any 4 year college of his choice. I would purchase a piece of land and build a home on it. I would then put the majority of the money into an interest bearing account and investments. Perhaps invest in my own business so I could finally work for myself and enjoy what I do.

Don DeHoff
June 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Why do you not provide a "one-click" printing and email (Hotmail?) forwarding sevice. My children and grandchildren could use this info and I avoid the usual gossip (mental masturbation) networks such as Facebook, Twitter,Linkedin, etc.

Patty
June 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Since my mom died 9 years ago, my goal has been to start a foundation in her name. We'd be advocates for needy Americans and not specify any one type of problem.

Pb
June 10, 2012 at 11:43 am

I would do the financial planning by finding advisers that can do a lot with a little (performance wise). Set up entitlements to any children of mine (taxes paid until the child turns 21, that way, its free and clear). Upon claiming any monies, I would seek the help of an attorney so I would not have to sign my name on the dotted line per se. If I were to incorporate, I can keep my identity private so there would be no one coming out of the woodwork! Afterwards, I would invest a bit (to have a long term gain) and I would have some moderate fun, nothing lavish but comfortable.

Of course moving to Jamaica for the summer (or winter) and having a private, fully staffed mansion also sounds great! =P

sharron
June 09, 2012 at 9:44 pm

First I would help the needy not the greedy..I would make sure my elderly parents WOULD NOT WANT FOR ANYTHING Ever..I would grant my very close relatives 1 wish,within reason..I would then relocate to an unknown area in the world..

tc
June 09, 2012 at 8:07 pm

go ahead and prepay for the betty ford clinic.

Eric
June 09, 2012 at 7:56 pm

put aside 1 million to snapbacks and shoes, Air Jordans, LeBrons, Kobes, KD's, Foamposites, etc. <3

Randa
June 09, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I would give 10 percent to god then pay off all dept and bills.
I would then redo my whole house.I would then put the rest into bank accounts. I would also go on a nice vacation with my family.

jake
June 09, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Don't forget GOD who grant you the gift.

Marianne
June 09, 2012 at 5:35 pm

First pay the taxes....then pay off all I owe. Then build a training center/shelter. The training side would be teaching handicapped people how to care for a pet and independent living skills. The shelter would be handicapped/unwanted animals that need love and attention. When the people successfully complete their stint at the school and can go off and be independent, they'll be able to take an animal they worked with to be their companion animal. :)