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Opinion: Powerball winners will lose big if they go public

Editorial / OpinionEditorial / Opinion: Opinion: Powerball winners will lose big if they go public
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There must be 109 million ways to ruin your life after finding out you won Powerball. But the most critical decision comes quickly, after about the fourth or fifth time you check the numbers.

To go public or not? To grip a check the size of a Charlie Sheen poster for the cameras? Or to hide your good fortune from an admiring and envious world?

"We've heard from a couple" who say they own the $109 million Powerball ticket sold in Abingdon last week, says Carole Everett, spokeswoman for the Maryland Lottery. They might come down to present the ticket in a few days, she said. Lottery officials hope they'll go public at a big media party.

"We encourage it," Everett says. "We like it. We like to show happy winners!"

Don't do it, Mr. and Mrs. Powerball. Anonymity is the first step to megawealth sanity. Sudden riches are hard enough to handle. Fame will crush you.

Don't even tell your kids.

"Every person that you have ever met is going to contact you," says Steven Danish, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University who counsels lottery winners. "You get threatened. You get invaded. You get surprised. They try to raise your guilt. You get confused about who your friends are and who they aren't."

Some states make lottery winners disclose their identities to the public to claim their prize. Not Maryland.

As a member of the working media I would love to know who you are, Powerball winners. A laid-off construction worker and his schoolteacher wife? A homemaker and a BGE lineman? Harford County Executive David Craig and wife Melinda?

Don't indulge me. Get a good lawyer — not your brother-in-law! You haven't told him, remember?

Figure out the biggest and best-known downtown Baltimore law firms. Interview a couple. Hire one. Pay them by the hour and pay them well. You can afford it. Ask about taxes, trusts, investments — and privacy.

Invest conservatively. Invest for income. Whether you take the annuity or the lump sum, you have more than enough money for you, your heirs, your heirs' heirs and all kinds of charities. You don't need to turn $100 million into $200 million. Try too hard and you're more likely to turn it into $10 million.

Firms such as T. Rowe Price or Vanguard can preserve your hoard, generate a nice annual income and not rip you off. Don't go with your stockbroker cousin.

Move, if you must. Buy a new house. But no more than five bathrooms, please.

Don't get a swollen head. Winning $109 million is a freak accident, like falling through a manhole and getting eaten by an alligator. It does not bestow dignity or virtue. But you can become honorable and good according to how you wield your wealth.

We're in the worst economy in 80 years. People still starve in parts of the world. Be kind in ways large and small. Anonymously. Lawyers can facilitate that, too.

Faceless charity is not only the most praiseworthy type, as certified by the major religions. It's also economically efficient, because it preserves incentives for recipients to help themselves. They won't know whom to pester for another bailout.

Learn about incentives. Don't let Powerball millions turn into a welfare trap for you and your relatives. Lottery windfalls that smother our reasons for getting out of bed leave us poorer than before we bought the ticket.

Buy a new car if you want. Not a Porsche. Take the family to Disney World.

If you must tell people you won the lottery — to explain Disney World — don't disclose the amount. Let them think you pocketed a few grand on Pick 4.

"When was the last time somebody in Maryland won this big?" I asked Everett. In 2003, she said, a woman won $183 million in Mega Millions. Big news conference, lots of media.

"And who was that?" I asked. She couldn't say, she said, because the family decided they no longer wanted publicity. (For the record, it was letter carrier Bernadette Gietka, a letter carrier from Dundalk.)

See? For any outed lottery winner, the glory and adrenaline of publicity are paid for with years of wondering whether your friends like you or your dough.

"There are people who are going to try to intimidate you," says Danish. "Or swindle you. Or try to force you to share the money. And you're going to feel guilty because you can't make everybody's dream come true."

The lottery is a raw deal for everyone except government, which gets some of the revenue. Many who play can least afford it. Those who win are extremely rare. The winners sometimes turn out to be the biggest losers.

That's another reason to skip the mediafest. You've just obtained financial independence. Don't let it be said that your last job was as a highly paid flack for the lottery industry.

Baltimore Sun

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56 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by Lots O-Luck.
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cypher's avatar - shapes swish.jpg

United States
Member #80204
September 18, 2009
35 Posts
Offline
Posted: September 13, 2011, 12:06 pm - IP Logged

It should be optional for a winner to disclose their identity or at least only require a initial for first name e.g." Mr. or Ms. I. Won" and no photo op. The world is a different place today and predators abound.

"Quite often, more is less!"

    Avatar
    Keokuk,Iowa
    United States
    Member #116508
    September 12, 2011
    302 Posts
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    Posted: September 13, 2011, 12:29 pm - IP Logged

    When I win the lottery,my home state says that I must hold a press conference.They don't say that I have to appear as I  normaly appear.I'm wearing a disguise to the horse & pony show.

      Avatar
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #77101
      July 13, 2009
      7805 Posts
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      Posted: September 13, 2011, 12:31 pm - IP Logged

      "Some states make lottery winners disclose their identities to the public to claim their prize. Not Maryland." 

      I hope the Maryland lottery winners are wise enough to remain anonymous especially since they have the option.

      Nothing good comes from going public.

      Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping

        s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
        Hard Luck, Ak
        United States
        Member #23472
        October 13, 2005
        247 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: September 13, 2011, 12:47 pm - IP Logged

                                        "I WILL REMAIN ANONYMOUS IF GIVEN THE OPTION!"

                                           

                                  "You make a living by what you get, You make a LIFE by what you give!"

                                                                                          Sir Winston Churchill

                                               Sun Smiley

          time*treat's avatar - radar

          United States
          Member #13130
          March 30, 2005
          2171 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: September 13, 2011, 12:48 pm - IP Logged

          Nothing good comes from going public.

          Especially when the d-bag media enables people to more easily pester you. Mad

          But what I really want to know is -- what if your stockbroker cousins work at T. Rowe and Vanguard? Crazy

          In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
          Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

            HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
            Boise, ID
            United States
            Member #94285
            July 17, 2010
            1400 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: September 13, 2011, 1:30 pm - IP Logged

            Idaho requires that your name be released to the media, unfortunately, so there's no way to keep a win from your family.  I wouldn't do the press conference or the photo op, but just having your name out there is bad enough.

              ressuccess's avatar - WhiteShyGuy

              United States
              Member #93166
              June 23, 2010
              835 Posts
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              Posted: September 13, 2011, 2:23 pm - IP Logged

              I think they should retire and conserve their money.

                phitch's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                New Member
                Missouri
                United States
                Member #100581
                November 14, 2010
                6 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: September 13, 2011, 2:24 pm - IP Logged

                Even though some states require that you hold a press conference if you win a jackpot, but from my understanding; there are ways to get around that. That's why it is so important to get an attorney when you do win a jackpot. The attorney can set up a Trust, LLC,....etc and the attorney will represent you to claim your winnings and you can remain anonymous. What are they going to do if you don't come forward, but you have an attorney to represent you with the winning ticket?.......not give you the winnings.  I've already decided on setting up a trust, when I WIN A  LOTTERY JACKPOT. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                   Party

                                                                                         

                  Avatar
                  charlotte, nc
                  United States
                  Member #108520
                  March 26, 2011
                  52 Posts
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                  Posted: September 13, 2011, 3:23 pm - IP Logged

                  I would not go public if I were the winners you have alot of people in that town,

                  that are waiting to see if they know who it is. I would definitely move from the area

                  as people will never see you the same. I like the prvious post claim it and make people

                  think you won a small amount of money maybe $50,000.00, however if they let any

                  family members know they are going to tell people as well. I would say they have a hard

                  decision to make $109,000,000.00 is alot of money.

                    Avatar
                    md
                    United States
                    Member #14047
                    April 20, 2005
                    541 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: September 13, 2011, 3:26 pm - IP Logged

                    Even though some states require that you hold a press conference if you win a jackpot, but from my understanding; there are ways to get around that. That's why it is so important to get an attorney when you do win a jackpot. The attorney can set up a Trust, LLC,....etc and the attorney will represent you to claim your winnings and you can remain anonymous. What are they going to do if you don't come forward, but you have an attorney to represent you with the winning ticket?.......not give you the winnings.  I've already decided on setting up a trust, when I WIN A  LOTTERY JACKPOT. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                       Party

                                                                                             

                    Yes, a trust to claim your winnings here in Maryland is the way I will go.  I will never go public, and I appreciate Maryland for having this option.  Congrats to the PB $109,000,000 winners.

                      Avatar
                      New York
                      United States
                      Member #111808
                      June 2, 2011
                      28 Posts
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                      Posted: September 13, 2011, 3:42 pm - IP Logged

                      Here in NY it doesn't matter if you hire an attorney and set a trust, still have to go public and do the photos and media. Last winner that did this was in 2009, he came out after one month to claim his prize with a trust and wearing dark shades. The only thing that an attorney can do here in NYS is  to prevent the media from interviews, but the photos are mandatory. I haven't heard many incidents after winning, but one with the Lady from staten Island that her husband wants a cut of a lotto prize everyone else has banished.

                        VAHopeful's avatar - winifrid
                        Virginia
                        United States
                        Member #116540
                        September 13, 2011
                        51 Posts
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                        Posted: September 13, 2011, 3:44 pm - IP Logged

                        My state doesn't let you collect anonymously, and they require you attend a press conf for the big wins.

                          joshuacloak's avatar - avatar 23415.gif

                          United States
                          Member #32537
                          February 12, 2006
                          639 Posts
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                          Posted: September 13, 2011, 3:55 pm - IP Logged

                          great quotes take some good thinking to understand fully.


                          " I just miss - I miss being anonymous."

                          , you miss it to ,  if your found out to be a large jackpot winner and bugged for cash none stop.

                           


                          "Obviously you don't want to be anonymous, but you don't want everyone to know your life."

                          Money all you need for people to notice you in shopping world

                           enjoy being rich, just don't you dare let anyone and everyone  know that your a lottery winner,  they they think they now have some  "right" to ask you for your money without shame.


                          "I remember him saying, 'Rich and famous? It's much better to be just rich'. I didn't quite get it to begin with. But he's right. You lose anonymity. I say to my family that you've no idea until you lose it how precious anonymity is. ."

                           

                          just try getting comfortable with being a  large public lottery winner- t hat whole side of it, the loss of anonymity, the loss of privacy. Giving up that part of your life and not having control of it



                          "Success made me self-sufficient, but it also took away my anonymity. I'm just this quiet nobody, and all of a sudden people are nervous around me. That was kind of weird."

                          now replace Nervous around you, with their  Greedy around you, money lusting  eny, etc, do you really want that? are you sure?



                          "As a social good, I think privacy is greatly overrated because privacy basically means concealment. People conceal things in order to fool other people about them. They want to appear healthier than they are, smarter, more honest and so forth."

                          and i want to appear poorer ,less lucky , darn right we should conceal some things when its for our own good/protection form others. , screw the public, their the enemy here.


                          know how the dems openly call for robbing rich people, your now their target bro of their hatred.

                          the public is not concerned a darn about your safety, your security, and your privacy. they care about your money!

                          "I have as much privacy as a goldfish in a bowl."

                          aka its better to be a rich fish,  in a tank with 10000+  other rich fish to bend in with

                          ,  then to have everyone "know who you are" and stare right at you. not good feeling having no privacy out in public.


                          "If the right to privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual,to be free from unwarranted public intrusion."

                          I really believe that we don't have to make a trade-off between winning the lottery  and privacy. I think trusts and lawyers  gives us the ability to have both :D


                          "Privacy and security are those things you give up when you show the world what makes you extraordinary. "


                               Winning PB/MM And being able to buy anything to want, is not necessarily a hardship in any way.  the invasion of your privacy, are what constitute the pain of a lottery winner.


                          Publication is a self-invasion of privacy."

                          and that;s why i never shed a tear to idiots going public.   learn  by thinking ahead of time pros and con's

                          , and not by finding out hard way......


                          Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds.

                          same can be said to state lottery's on relying on them to have your privacy above their marketing.


                          , their intrest is making you a marketable dream "buy tickets and can win just like X here" shows you off

                          "bye bye privacy" it just flyed out window like a bird thats never flying back in its cage to freedom.



                          You lose your privacy, and sometimes, people don't see you as human.

                          For lottery winners, they see you as their own personal ATM, and are insulted when you fail to give out cash,

                          now you can't so you was not warned told before hand to use a trust.

                            Avatar
                            Delaware
                            United States
                            Member #93505
                            July 1, 2010
                            398 Posts
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                            Posted: September 13, 2011, 4:08 pm - IP Logged

                            Lucky for me I can remain anonymous if I win, and honestly I'd have to second guess telling my family because, I have a feeling they'd run there mouth.