Perspectives

You Won the Lottery! What now?

Prepared by Jeris B. Gaston

There’s no denying, the idea of winning $1.5 billion dollars is thrilling, but the odds are stacked against you. In this latest drawing, a contestant in the Powerball lottery has a 1 in 239 million chance of winning the big price. But what if you beat the odds? What would you do if you became an instant Billionaire? Interesting enough, the advice to follow is the same for those that beat the odds, as it is for those who didn’t take that chance.

First, it’s important not to make rash decisions. As tempting as it would be to go out and buy your own island, it’s probably something that needs to be given some time and thought. Rash, emotional decisions are difficult to overcome even if your financial windfall isn’t quite as large as the Powerball prize. Take a second and think about what’s most important to you both today and down the road and plan accordingly.

Next, it’s likely you will need some advice about this new found fortune. Having advocates on your side working in your best interest is important to making sure you make the right decisions in the days and months following your windfall. You should seek advice from a tax accountant, an attorney and a Certified Financial Planner®.

Finally, whether you take the lump sum or the lifetime annuity payments, you have to make a decision that makes sense to your needs and lifestyle. Make sure you allocate funds to take care of yourself and your family before you go on a carefree spending spree. If philanthropy is important to you, then consider meeting with representatives in your community who are also invested in helping others through dedicated gifts. In Birmingham, you could consider The Community Foundation or The United Way; both of which can help you gift with a purpose within your hometown.

Whether you win the Powerball or just plan to make better decision with the funds you have, it’s important to be wise with your funds and plan for the future.

Good luck!

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