Be Smart With Your Money If You Win the Lottery

Buying a lottery ticket is a great way to try your luck at winning a prize. Depending on the type of ticket you buy, you can win a prize ranging from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars. You can purchase a lottery ticket at gas stations, convenience stores, and even some grocery stores.

Regardless of whether you win a large jackpot or not, be smart with your money. Before spending your winnings, take time to hammer out a wealth management plan and do some long-term thinking and financial goal setting. Then, decide whether you want to receive your prize in one lump sum or as annuity payments over the course of several years. This decision will affect how much you get, when you will receive it, and the taxes you’ll owe.

It’s not unusual for lottery winners to quickly blow through their fortunes. Excessive spending and giving are often to blame. For example, West Virginia construction worker Jack Whittaker won two multimillion-dollar prizes and ended up living in a trailer after spending most of his winnings on vacations, cars, and jewelry. He gave stacks of cash to diner waitresses, family members, and strangers until he ran out of money.

Other lottery winners haven’t fared much better. In one instance, a Chicago man won millions in the lottery and died alone and broke at age 46. His death was originally attributed to natural causes, but later testing revealed he was poisoned with cyanide.