Someone’s got to win that Powerball jackpot (you, it’ll be you). And when you do, you’re destined to become a multi-millionaire. (No, not a billionaire—taxes will cut the winnings down from $1.4-ish billion to around $651 million.) Which is sure to be jarring for anyone. Luckily, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has some advice for you, as offered to the Dallas Morning News:
*Hire a tax attorney first.
*Don’t take the lump sum. You don’t want to blow it all in one spot.
*If you weren’t happy yesterday you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness.
*If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It’s money. Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.
*Tell all your friends and relatives no. They will ask. Tell them no. If you are close to them, you already know who needs help and what they need. Feel free to help SOME, but talk to your accountant before you do anything and remember this, no one needs 1m dollars for anything. No one needs 100k for anything. Anyone who asks is not your friend.
*You don’t become a smart investor when you win the lottery. Don’t make investments. You can put it in the bank and live comfortably. Forever. You will sleep a lot better knowing you won’t lose money.
How sound is his advice? Well, let’s compare it to what Forbes wrote back in 2012 on the subject, back when it was big news that the Powerball jackpot was up to $500 million. (Peanuts, really!)
The gist of it is similar. The author writes that “from the moment that you claim that prize, you will be descended upon by vultures who want a hefty helping of those winnings. And if you didn’t have smart money habits up until now, you could easily turn out to be your own worst enemy by quickly squandering the fortune.”
But the advice that follows is a bit more practical than Cuban’s advice. Remain anonymous, if possible. This will help stave off said vultures. See a tax pro to figure out which actually is the better option between the lump sum payout or the installment plan. Avoid lifestyle changes and set aside a fixed amount for the inevitable “Holy Cow, I Just Won the Lottery” splurge. Pay off all your debts (duh). Assemble a legal and financial dream team to act as your own personal board of directors. Invest wisely, and with the help of your dream team. Keep yourself on a budget. Protect your newfound wealth against sue-happy people who have it out for Powerball winners. Give some of it to charity (because, tax break!). And last but not least, make sure you’ve set up plans for your estate.
Between Cuban and Forbes, all the bases seem to be covered, from the financial aspect of winning the lottery to the happiness aspect. The odds of winning on Wednesday are only one in 292.2 million, and yet you’re going to win, so be prepared!