How to Handle Winning the Lottery


How to Handle Winning the Lottery


A man against a blue background celebrating while looking at a lottery ticket.

How to Handle Winning the Lottery


A lottery card on a pile of $100 bills

What are your chances of winning the lottery? When picking six numbers from a pool of 49, your chances of snagging the jackpot are somewhere around one in 13,983,816. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, you have a better chance of being crushed by a meteorite or becoming the president of the USA! 

That being said, there’s always a chance and if you’re ever lucky enough to win big (just as you could when playing online bingo), it’s a good idea to be prepared and know exactly how to handle winning a large amount of money right from the get-go.

Read on for winning the lottery advice, the dos and don’ts before you claim your winnings and how to make the most of your moolah in the future.

What to do before claiming your winnings

You’ve just discovered you’ve won the lottery. The excitement of such an event is unimaginable and most people’s first instinct would be to shout it from the rooftops and dance in the streets – but it’s actually really important to be discreet about your win.

For now, tell your spouse and your financial advisor but keep it a secret from everyone else, otherwise you can be certain you’ll have hordes of people on your doorstep asking for a piece of the pie!

While there’s lots to think about, make sure you revel in the moment and celebrate to your heart’s content. You can tackle the responsible aspects of the event the next day! That said, ensure you sign the ticket and make a photocopy of it before you do anything else. Whoever signs a winning ticket is legally entitled to claim the prize!

Once the celebrations come to an end, take a moment to read all the information on your ticket, paying close attention to the date by which you’ll need to claim your winnings. 

Next, consider reaching out to a tax consultant for advice. They’ll be able to provide you with information about the pros and cons of claiming in one lump sum vs. taking an annuity where you’ll be paid a specified amount every month until you’ve received your due – plus interest and minus tax, of course. It can be tempting to choose the former, but you’ll need to ask yourself whether you feel confident managing such a significant sum of money. Note, however, that some lotteries don’t give you an option.

It’s also a good idea to create a team of professionals to support you in making the best possible decisions regarding your winnings. Along with a tax consultant and your financial advisor, you should also get in touch with a lawyer and an accountant.

You’ve got your money – now what?

Obviously, the way forward will depend on how you’ve claimed your money. Regardless, though, one of the first thoughts to cross your mind will undoubtedly be: should I quit my job?

You probably have visions of traveling around the world or buying a mansion and spending your days enjoying the view, binging Netflix and playing online bingo. By the way, did you know your favorite pastime also used to be classified as a lottery? Plus, managing your money will be something of a full-time job for the moment. 

Ultimately, the decision lies with you. Keep in mind that many lottery winners who quit their jobs often find the novelty of being “free” wears off relatively quickly and they feel the need to find “purpose” again. Maybe you don’t want to stop working but can use the financial freedom to open up a new career path for yourself or perhaps your own business? For others, the joys of being a millionaire on their own mission never gets old.

Of course, consult with your financial team before you make any final decisions.

How to manage lottery winnings

A young couple talking to a financial advisor at a table with a laptop and documents.

As mentioned, it’s not recommended to try and manage your lottery winnings on your own. A well-qualified financial team can help you maximize your money. Usually, this team will advise you to begin your journey as a millionaire by paying off all your debts. That includes your mortgage, student loans, car payments, credit cards and medical bills.

Once you’ve done that, think about limitations and rules that you can set to protect your money. For example, write a list of the specific people to whom you want to give a portion of the money and, most importantly, stick to it. Rest assured, if and when news spreads, you’ll be hearing from a lot of long-lost friends and relatives!

It’s recommended to set a budget for yourself. The goal should be to live comfortably without financial concerns for as long as possible rather than to live lavishly for a shorter period.

Finally, investigate opportunities for investing and safeguarding your winnings. Your financial team will provide you with advice in terms of how to invest to get the highest possible returns.

What NOT to do when winning the lottery

A woman in a suit holding a box and waving goodbye to her colleagues in the boardroom.

Aside from telling everyone about your win, here are a few other “don’ts” to remember if you’re ever lucky enough to win the lottery:

  • Don’t quit your job before you have your winnings in your bank account or secured as an annuity and you have a budget in place. 
  • Don’t make any sudden changes to your lifestyle – you could risk drawing unwanted attention to your financial situation.
  • Don’t tell anyone where you’ve stashed your winning ticket leading up to claiming your winnings, and, once again, make sure you sign the ticket immediately.
  • Don’t attempt to manage your money without professional guidance.
  • Don’t make any impulsive purchases.

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