Investing Strategies

Powerball jackpot hits $1.4 billion. Here’s ‘the toughest thing’ for lottery winners, lawyer says

The Powerball jackpot soared to an estimated $1.4 billion as of Oct. 6, 2023, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.
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The Powerball jackpot has soared to an estimated $1.4 billion ahead of Saturday night’s drawing — and financial experts have tips for the lucky winner.

As the third largest prize in the game’s history, the winner will pick between a lump sum worth $614 million or an annuitized prize of $1.4 billion. Both options are pretax estimates.

The next Powerball drawing is Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET, and the sales cut-off is typically one to two hours before the drawing. The odds of winning the jackpot are roughly 1 in 292.2 million.

The biggest pitfalls for lottery winners are excessive spending, poor investment choices and family members asking for money, said Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago-based lawyer who has represented several lottery winners. “Saying ‘no’ to family might be the toughest thing that lottery winners have to do,” he said.

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Here’s what the lucky winner should do first, according to financial experts.

Assemble a team of professionals

“Lottery winners historically are from lower socio-economic backgrounds,” said Stoltmann. “They don’t have the experience managing money or establishing the financial team.”

Before making big financial decisions, the winner should hire a financial advisor, tax professional and at least one attorney, he said.

Consider a ‘cooling off period’ first

Whether it’s a large inheritance or lottery winnings, “my recommendation is to initially do nothing,” said certified financial planner and enrolled agent John Loyd, owner at The Wealth Planner in Fort Worth, Texas.

Before choosing between the lump sum or annuity payout, he suggests taking a “cooling off period” to get organized and weigh the pros and cons.

The lump sum offers the full prize up front, while the annuity provides one immediate payment, followed by 29 annual payouts that increase 5% each year, according to Powerball.

“Money is an emotional thing,” Loyd said. “And you want to try to minimize making emotional decisions.”

Saturday’s Powerball drawing comes less than three months since a single ticket sold in California won the game’s $1.08 billion jackpot. This is the first time the game has seen back-to-back billion-dollar jackpots. Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot is currently worth an estimated $360 million, and the odds of winning that grand prize is roughly 1 in 302 million.

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