Day after day, American hopefuls visit their local convenience stores, meager dollars and change in hand, looking to change their lives by purchasing a lottery ticket. Indeed, winning the lottery is certainly the American dream. And while winning $5 here and there on a scratch-off is fun, most of us rarely know the glory of striking it big time and winning millions.
But what if it happened to you? What if you won the lottery and hit it big time? While many of us dream of having that winning ticket in hand, it’s hardly common knowledge knowing what to do next — and those first few steps are the most crucial of all.
But before you spiral into a hypothetical panic, sit back, relax, and read these steps for what to do if you win the lottery.
- Don’t tell anyone.
While your first inclination might be to pull a Charlie and break into song about having the golden ticket, it’s probably best if you refrain from such public displays of jubilance — for now at least. For your own safety and for a sense of normalcy in your life, keep your news under wraps for as long as you can.
- Don’t quit your day job.
Seriously, don’t. After winning the lottery, many people quit their jobs right away and launch into an automatically lavish existence. Not only does this increase your chances of blowing your money quickly, but it will set up a series of spontaneous and possibly irresponsible decisions.
- Consider Your Options
Typically, lottery payments are distributed over the course of several years. Specifically, you receive one large sum then subsequent sums over the years that increase by about 5% each year. This is called an annuity. For some, this kind of lottery annuity is a good way to manage your money and ensure that you don’t blow it in one sitting. But for those who are looking to have a lump sum or need to use their winnings for specific reasons, such as paying off debt or medical expenses, selling lottery payments is a better option. Selling your annuity is a process that requires you to go to a court of law, and communicate with a judge your reasonings for selling lottery payments. Then, they will either approve or deny your request.