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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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J Piwaron
June 15, 2012 at 9:05 am

Job 1 - retire all my debt. Arrange enough money to ensure that my wife and I would never have to return to work whatever happened to the rest. All others take a number and I'll get back to you some decade.

June 15, 2012 at 8:29 am

Ruth....God wants us to be good stewards of His money. Gambling is not a prudent way to spend money. If you want to gamble, just send me your money and it will have the same results....notta!

June 15, 2012 at 7:53 am


June 15, 2012 at 7:49 am

I want to give my Uncle sam at least 30% right off the top and then smaller percentages when I make some purchases and when all is said and done the useless politicians will have sucked about 80% of the win out of me. I'd give it to the ASPCA to help try and convict animal abusers and hopefully fund the spay and neuter program for those abusers!

June 15, 2012 at 7:37 am

Don't eat the golden goose. Let it lay eggs and live off the eggs the rest of your life!!!

June 15, 2012 at 6:14 am

I will give it too the poor..

June 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Why would you tithe 10% to God when God is opposed to gambling?

June 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

Tithe 10% to God. Put 50% aside for taxes (35 fed, 3.09 state and 1 local-the rest is just incase rates change). Pay off all debts. Set up trusts for my childrens college. Research and develope a family campground-ADA & pet friendly (not just accessiable) and group sites too. That way I could develope a program for families who usually cannot afford a family vacation to have an experience together without distraction of everyday. Camping is an awesome way to get to know each other. I would also like to have an outdoor stage to show movies or have a campwide skit show and just friendly gathering for people to connect face to face.

June 14, 2012 at 8:41 am

(1) Pay off my mortgage
(2) Pay off my student loan
(3) Hire a professional legal and accounting team
(4) Buy my mom a house
(5) Help my immediate family
We dont have any significant debt other than the house and student loan and we've travelled the world for my husband's job so I guess I'd quit my job and get a Master's degree in something fun, donate to some worthy charities and figure out how to live a good life not ruled by money.

June 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I would first thank God and Cry because I need a blessing now!!
It would mean food on the table and clothes on my back and a roof over my head. We could all use a blessing in some way or another but we're not always as lucky. Good luck and God Bless Us ALL!!!