Are you trying your luck in tonight’s Mega Millions drawing? With the jackpot estimated to be in excess of a billion dollars, lots of folks are hoping their numbers will come up. And while plenty of people have lottery fever, not many know how to protect themselves if they actually did win.
These tips from lottery boards, insurance companies, private wealth management firms, and other financial experts can help keep you and your money safe and secure if you hit it big in the lottery.
- Beware of scams. This tops the list because all lottery players need to watch out for scams, whether they win the jackpot or not. Mega Millions warns that some scammers pretend to be lottery employees in an attempt to steal money from unsuspecting people and other scammers may ask for personal information or payments they claim are for “taxes” or “fees.” But the multi-jurisdictional lottery board’s website notes, “No real lottery tells winners to put up their own money in order to collect a prize they have already won.”
- Get professional advice. Mega Millions advises getting a team of financial experts if you win a large prize and State Farm Insurance recommends lawyers and financial advisors, too.
- Keep that ticket safe! State Farm suggests making “several copies” of your winning ticket to show to lawyers or accountants while keeping the original ticket in a personal safe or bank deposit box. They also advise lottery winners to read the game’s rules and contract before signing their winning ticket.
- Protect your privacy. Keep your win private before turning in a ticket and be prepared to change your contact information to avoid being slammed with requests.
- Put off making big decisions. Before you do something like quit your job or make a huge purchase, the private wealth managers at Cresset Capital suggest taking time to consider what you want to do with your money and what your employment means to your mental wellbeing.
- The question whether you should take a lump sum. This is where a financial advisor can help you crunch the numbers and decide what’s best for you and your future.