To the winners of the recent Mega Millions Jackpot,
Congratulations! Of the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people who were playing for this record setting prize, you were the lucky few who managed to take the prize. Whether it was the result of good karma, highly strategic number picking, or simply dumb luck, you have succeeded where millions of others have failed. Very impressive, indeed!
But now you might be wondering what what to do with all that money. After all, you’ve likely gone from a five or six figure net worth (perhaps seven if you were already a pretty impressive saver, and simply got a lottery ticket this time on a whim) to a nine figure net worth, instantly putting you near the very top of our social system in terms of net worth. (So yes, the next time you hear the Occupy Wall Street protesters talk about the ‘1%’, they’re talking about you.) If you’re not used to having so much money, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out how to use it.
That’s where I come in. As you can probably tell, I’ve already written hundreds of articles advising the less well-off how to spend and invest their money, and now I’m going to do the same for you. Don’t thank me, it’s all part of the job. (Although, if my advice proves exceptionally helpful, I wouldn’t mind ten or twenty thousand as a nice tip.) So, with no further ado, here are some important steps to follow, now that you are a successful lottery winner:
1. Get Your Winnings All at Once, and Get Them In Physical Cash: You’ll have two options: to get your prize money all at once or in annuity payments for 26 years. Go with the cash option, and get your money in physical cash. Small bills, if possible; there is nothing more enjoyable than filling up an empty pool with your winnings and swimming through them like Scrooge McDuck.
2. Don’t Trust Investment or Commercial Bankers: Lots of people in the monetary field are going to want to contact you, now that you are rich, trying to convince you to do things like ‘save’ and ‘invest prudently’ and ‘keep some of your money for a rainy day’. These people are trying to get your cash, and should be ignored at all costs. They only want you to keep your money in boring bank and brokerage accounts, rather than using it to enjoy yourself.
3. Spend, Spend, Spend: You earned this money, now enjoy it. These millions aren’t going to spend themselves, and let’s be honest, with well over a hundred million dollars to your name, there’s no way you could possibly spend it all. Get a huge mansion, a giant yacht, a fantastic car, everything you ever dreamed of having, and anything you never dreamed of but that looked good in commercials.
4. Help Your Friends and Family By Giving Money Away: By the time you claim your prize, you’ll be pretty famous (particularly the winner who bought the ticket in Illinois; whether you want it or not, your identity will be revealed). As a result, you’re going to find that everyone you’ve ever known, even briefly, and many people you’ve never met, will be coming to you, asking for help. From cousins who find themselves with credit card debt to old college roommates who have a great idea for a new company and need some start-up capital to strangers who claim to be a friend of an uncle you’ve never heard of, you’ll be all but deluged by requests for financial help. Answer them; you’ve got the money, and there’s no way that those people will fail to remember the help you’ve given and return the favor, in the incredibly unlikely event you find yourself in need of help in the future.
5. Don’t Give to Charity: Screw those guys; what did they ever do for you? If they wanted a piece of this lottery action, they should have bought a few tickets themselves.
There you go, plenty of good advice that you should be sure to follow, whether you are one of the recent winners or win a lottery in the future. With all of that said, there’s only one final parting message to pass along…
Yes, as I hope you realized by the third point (if not much sooner), I don’t actually suggest any of these things to lottery winners, now or in the future. In fact, you’d be doing pretty good, lottery-money-wise, if you did exactly the opposite: take the annuity payouts to limit the risk of running out of money in a few years, put the money you do get into savings accounts and brokerages, save most of it, only give to your close family members (if to anyone), and be sure to be generous to charities. Follow THIS advice, and you’ll end up being the rare lottery winner who doesn’t go bankrupt in a few years.
Here’s hoping you don’t lose all your money, lottery winners. And here’s hoping the rest of readers got a giggle or two out of my April Fool’s post.