What to do if you win Powerball

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The chances of winning the Powerball jackpot is around one in 292-million, but with the next drawing expected to soar past 1-billion, the odds it seems for many are going out the window and in turn are being replaced with people’s wildest fantasies.

At least that’s the case for Ethel Harris of West Haven. For her, purchasing lottery tickets in recent days has become part of her routine. When we spoke to her she told us she had already bought 20 tickets.

Ethel has already decided if she wins she’ll choose take the one time lump sum payment over the annuity option, which would give her many smaller payments over the course of several decades. Her mind may be made up, but Quinnipiac University Finance Professor Carolyn Mancini says that Ethel’s plan might not be the right one for everyone.

“The goal for that money is to get the most value out of it over the longest period of time,” said Mancini.

Mancini recommends if you win the Powerball, to make sure you assemble of team of financial professionals. Some of them, she says, should be legal tax advisers and experts on investing. Together, the team will be able to tell you whether to go with the lump sum or annuity, based on your lifestyle. Taking the lump sum payment, Mancini points out, requires more financial discipline than the annuity.

Another important thing to remember is it’s best not to start spending the money immediately and sign the back of the winning ticket with your signature. Mancini says even putting the money in a bank account wouldn’t be the worst action to take while you plan your next move.

Also, some experts recommend you try and stay anonymous if you can. One way in Connecticut you can do that is by using a legal entity like a trust or business partnership to claim the prize.

And remember it’s important you’re careful with the money. A 2015 study found nearly half of lottery winners spend all their winnings within five years.

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