You’ve Won The Lottery! Lump Sum or Annual Payments?

Recently, a record Powerball jackpot of 1.6 billion dollars was won by 3 winners. That’s about $530 million dollars apiece. Wow! Unfortunately, I only won a measly $7, but at least that’s $7 to the good and more than probably most people won.

From what I’ve read, most people who win big jackpot opt to take the lump sum. Some do it because they want it all right now. Others because they want control over all the money and fear that if they pass on, nothing goes to their heirs. I don’t know if it’s true for all lottery type games and gambling overall, but I do know that in many cases, the rule is that annual payments stop upon the death of the winner, even if all the winnings haven’t been paid out.

And, if the winner is already quite elderly, this fear is even more legitimate.

However, unless I was very old and the annual payments wouldn’t be very much, I would

opt for taking annual payments! And, if you were one of the three winners, having won $530 million dollars from that huge jackpot, you should opt for the annual payments, too, and here’s why.

  1. You don’t get all of the money when you take a lump sum! Each winner of the Powerball jackpot will get their 530 million only if they take annual payments. If you take a lump sum, it will get it cut to around 300 million, and that’s before taxes are taken out. After taxes, you may be left with $150 to $200 million by some estimates.

  2. If you blow it all right away as many big winners have done, that’s it! No more money coming! Sure, the $180 million you’d be left with in the previous example is still a huge amount of money and you’d have it now. And, if you kept your head, you can certainly have the fact of never having to work again and yet having a very good lifestyle that you are in nearly complete control of, be your life. But there are lots of pitfalls, like friends and relatives and others coming out of the woodwork, many who may try to sue you for the money and really tangle up things for a long time, and making you hire attorneys and financial experts, all of which will cost you money, and, if you haven’t managed the money well, you could still wind up even more broke than you were before you won. With annual payments, you’ll have more money coming in the next year for 30 years. And you’ll likely get a much bigger percentage of your 530 million.

  3. You may not be able to have future payments go to your heirs, but those payments you do receive will still let you leave a great deal of money to them!

    Thirty years of annual payments from that 530 million that you won would come to $17.6 million per year. But of course there’s taxes. Let’s say, worse case scenario, you have 60 percent taken out for taxes. That would take it down to approximately $7 million yearly that you would receive every year for 30 years! Worried you may pass on after the first year’s payment? You’d still get to leave $7 million to your heirs. How many people do you know that can even leave that much or are in line to inherit that much money? I don’t know any.

  4. You have more money coming! The positive side as mentioned at the end of number 2 above, you have more money coming! You know all those problems that cropped up before when you first won? Like those friends and relatives you didn’t know you had suing you, and those nasty taxes? And your overindulgence, like that $350,000 Ferrari you bought? Well, next year, you’ll get more money, and the year after that, for 30 years! You’ll get smarter, learn how to pay your taxes and manage your money, you won’t be out buying a new Ferrari, and you’ll probably outdistance those nuisance lawsuits brought about by all those new-found friends and relatives from the woodwork.

So, if you do win big, think about taking annual payments instead. And first thing, see your tax people and get a trusted financial advisor first thing! You’ll be glad you did.

Happy playing and good luck!

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And thanks for reading!  🙂

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