6 Tips If You Win The Mega Millions Jackpot

I’ll preface this by saying I used to live in Vegas. As my wife and I would drive down “The Strip” we’d gawk at all the extravagant and gaudy casino hotels, and would say, “There’s a reason they’re so big and beautiful. They win, and we lose.” Gambling is predominately a losing hand. Period.

Horrible odds, but you’ll still play

Having said that, the Mega Millions jackpot is sinfully tempting right now. The jackpot (as of Thursday) stands at a record $540 million for Friday night’s drawing. Look for it to go even higher down the homestretch. More than half a billion dollars!  If you play, expect to lose. The odds are said to be one in 176 million. But horrible odds don’t keep people from playing in Vegas, and they certainly won’t keep them from playing for the dream of winning half a billion.

If you play, and IF you win, you may want to abide by these six tips I came across in the Los Angeles Times:

  1. Don’t wait until the last-minute. Many of the 42 states where Mega Millions is played have different cut off times to buy tickets. And the lines will be long in the final hours.
  2. Don’t trust anyone. If you’re pooling your money together with friends, family or co-workers to buy tickets, be sure to CYB (cover your butt). Years ago, I did a piece on what can happen to big jackpot winners. It wasn’t pretty. In one case, an entire family was suing… each other. They all claimed they bought the winning ticket and deserved all the money. In a separate case, one brother was accused of trying to killing the other for the lotto loot. Bottom line: if you go in with someone else, document everything beforehand. Otherwise it can break up families and friendships.
  3. If you win, now what? Absolutely nothing. Put the winning ticket in a safe place. You have up to a year, depending on where you live, to claim your prize.
  4. Get expert advice. And by expert, that’s NOT your cousin Carl who likes to flip houses on the side. Get a reputable, experienced attorney and a money manager. You’ll need it. Your life will never be the same. The experts will not only help you set up trusts and estate planning, they’ll help you fend off the crazies that will try to separate you from your new-found wealth.
  5. Spend the money (but only in your mind first). Think of all the things you can do with the millions and the people you can help. Then revise your list. Then cut it down again. You’ve gambled once, and won. What’s the term in Vegas? Double down? Risk it all, and the odds are you’ll lose it all.
  6. Take it all now, or in 26 annual payments? That’s your biggest decision. Many take all the money and run. But there’s a lot to be said about the self-imposed savings plan. Which is best? The person who knows the answer best is … you. This is where is really pays off to know thyself.

What would you do with $540 million? Let me know.

Mega Millions: Buy quickly but go slow once you win the jackpot (LA Times)

One Comment on “6 Tips If You Win The Mega Millions Jackpot

  1. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the tips.

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