It’s a scenario you don’t have to think about much, though it might pass through your mind when you buy a lottery ticket: “What are some of the first things I should do if I win the lottery?”
Fantasizing about how you’ll spend millions of dollars is the easy part. But until the checks start arriving, there are some things you may want to do first to avoid some hassles. Read John Steinbeck’s, “The Pearl,” for an idea of how getting rich quickly can ruin your life.
Sign the Back
Winning tickets can get lost, so sign the back of it to secure that it’s yours. Make a copy of the winning ticket and put it in a safety deposit box. At the very least, hide it in your house.
You’ll have six months to a year to turn the winning ticket in to lottery officials. The process could take two or three weeks to complete.
If you’ve won millions of dollars, you’ll likely need the services of some professionals to help you: an attorney, a financial planner and an accountant.
Don’t tell anyone you’ve won. If you decide to tell your immediate family, you risk leaking that information. This could lead to plenty of people, including long-lost friends or family, knocking on your door and asking for a handout or offering you investment opportunities.
You should also shut down your Facebook and other social media feeds. Even if you aren’t very active online, your name is going to come out eventually and people will try to contact you or at least look at photos of you and your family online.
Set Spending Priorities
A few indulgences are expected after first learning you’re a millionaire. But beyond that, you should think about how you want to use the money so that you don’t go broke. It sounds odd to spend millions of dollars, see half of it go to paying taxes and then be broke a few years later as a lottery winner, but it happens. Someone could ask you to invest $10 million with them, and you never see the money again. Or you buy a few too many cars or houses, or decide to open a restaurant.
Start by paying off your debt, invest most of it and let it grow for a while before making major lifestyle changes. Give your money some time to grow and give yourself time to think about what you want to do with it.