If you won the lottery, you may have already concocted a few wild ideas about how to spend the money: beach houses, world-class vacations, new cars and not-so-fun stuff like paying off debt. But if you do win the big prize, there are some key financial decisions that will come up that you’ll need to take very seriously, and having the right team of financial experts in your corner will make all the difference.
For starters, it’s important to remember that winning the lottery is a game of chance and your current situation has 0% bearing on whether or not you’re going to hit it big. The lottery doesn’t care if you’re black, white, Mexican, Chinese or Republican – it’s all about luck.
Regardless of whether you’re the winner of a small prize or a mega jackpot, protecting your privacy is paramount. Even though many states allow you to claim your prize anonymously, there are still plenty of scammers out there trying to take advantage of lottery winners. To protect yourself, change your phone number and set up a P.O. box before you turn in your ticket, and consider forming a blind trust through an attorney to anonymously receive the prize money.
Once you’ve made a plan to protect your privacy, and decided how to manage your prize money, it’s time to assemble a team of financial experts. Most experts agree that you should have an accountant, lawyer and financial advisor on your side as soon as you’re a winner.