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Mega Millions lottery winner won't change lifestyle

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Mega Millions lottery winner won't change lifestyle

Sure, she's $1.2 million wealthier than she was a week ago, but Mega Millions winner Terry Zuniga has no plans to exchange her routine for the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

In fact, the 57-year-old Whittier resident and in-home caregiver said Tuesday she plans to keep her job caring for her two elderly clients.

Her biggest extravagance will be a trip to Las Vegas with four of her longtime best friends, she said.

After that, she's thinking about having her used Honda — which was recently given to her by one of her clients — repainted. True, she can afford any car she wants, but after all, Zuniga said, her Honda is "like a new car."

"It's only got 80,000 miles," she said. "No one has ever even sat in the back seat. It's perfectly good."

Zuniga said she's played the California lottery every day since its inception in 1985.

"It finally paid off, but I'm probably just winning my money back," she laughed.

Considering the astronomical odds of winning any state lottery drawing, Zuniga is one lucky woman.

Just last year, she won a $57,000 prize in a Fantasy Five drawing.

But all those winnings are now gone — she spent her jackpot on her own two children and on the 11 foster children she has raised, she said.

Lottery officials said Zuniga's ticket was the only one that had five of the six winning numbers in Friday's $37 million jackpot drawing. No one claimed the top prize, pushing the total for Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing to $47 million.

Because California does not use the fixed Mega Millions non-jackpot prizes that the other Mega Millions states use, if nobody in California wins a 5 of 6 prize for several consecutive drawings, the prize for that level can grow quite large.

Of course, Zuniga will have to pay 25 percent of her $1,231,934 windfall to Uncle Sam in the form of federal income taxes, lottery officials said.

But that still leaves her with $923,950, a check for which Zuniga expects to receive in four to six weeks, she said. The store where she bought her ticket will not receive a percentage because the win was not for a pick-six jackpot, lottery officials said.

Some of her money will pay for college for two of her foster children, Zuniga said. And she also wants to donate some to City of Hope cancer center in Duarte.

"I help everybody out," said Zuniga, who bought her winning ticket at the 7-Eleven store on Santa Fe Springs Boulevard in Whittier.

"But I'm happy, and that's it. This money I promise I won't keep all to myself. That's the truth," she said.

Whittier Daily News, Lottery Post Staff

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8 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by psykomo.
Page 1 of 1
OldSchoolPa's avatar - Lottery-057.jpg
Gurnee, Illinois
United States
Member #49731
February 12, 2007
923 Posts
Posted: April 25, 2007, 8:16 am - IP Logged

She's a realistic woman, and by that she is also smart.  No one can live the lifestyle of the rich and famous on just one million dollars today.  You have to at least be a multi-millionaire with over $5M to even begin living a luxury lifestyle, especially in California were regular three bedroom 1,900 sq. ft houses sell for $500,000+ in many locales.  But I guess the news writer had to say something to spice up the story.  Best wishes to Ms. Zuniga

Get MONEY!!! Winning a JACKPOT lottery is all the HOPE and CHANGE I desire!!!  NOW give me MONEY!US Flag

The guy who won the presidency in 2008 really won the lottery...he is now millions richer, travels in first class style, and even has a staff that would be the envy of the richest Powerball winner (she has a staff of 2). Every night he goes to sleep, he probably plays the close of Dave Chappelle's Show: I'm rich beyatch!

    Coastal Georgia
    United States
    Member #2653
    October 30, 2003
    1866 Posts
    Posted: April 25, 2007, 9:00 am - IP Logged

    Good things happen to good people.

    A foster mom....


    WTG Ms. Z !!!!






      MissNYC's avatar - diva
      Westchester, New York
      United States
      Member #49345
      January 27, 2007
      168 Posts
      Posted: April 25, 2007, 4:34 pm - IP Logged

      That's great, but its a stretch to say she can live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, or anything close to it, especially after taxes! These days, you need a lot more than a million dollars to consider yourself set, it just isn't what it used to be.

      "If you just keep believing, that dream that you wish will come true"



        United States
        Member #46824
        October 1, 2006
        270 Posts
        Posted: April 25, 2007, 6:12 pm - IP Logged

        Just think if the winner bought the Mega Millions ticket in a different state they would have won only $250,000.

        Because Cailfornia does not used the fixed payment system the payouts can be both higher and lower.  Perfect examples are the last two drawings.  The one noted above for a 5+0 winner paid $1.2 million and the most recent draw that paid $162,907 for a 5+0 winner. 

          Ladyluck2005's avatar - underground
          Denver, CO
          United States
          Member #13465
          April 6, 2005
          68 Posts
          Posted: April 27, 2007, 7:21 pm - IP Logged

          I like these stories. Smile


          Blue Angel

          Carpe Diem

            dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

            United States
            Member #2338
            September 17, 2003
            2063 Posts
            Posted: April 28, 2007, 2:21 am - IP Logged

            At 1.2 million pre-tax you can't afford any drastic life changes. Also anyone notice how high this payout is. That's almost 5x the regular payout for a 5/6 match.

              justxploring's avatar - villiarna
              Wandering Aimlessly
              United States
              Member #25360
              November 5, 2005
              4461 Posts
              Posted: April 28, 2007, 4:09 am - IP Logged

              At 1.2 million pre-tax you can't afford any drastic life changes. Also anyone notice how high this payout is. That's almost 5x the regular payout for a 5/6 match.

              "But that still leaves her with $923,950"

              I agree that a "drastic" lifestyle isn't possible, but if someone gave me $923,950 (after taxes) it would be a major lifestyle change for me.  I guess people on this board have a different attitude about the meaning of lifestyle, which I'm not knocking, but disagree with to a certain extent. Of course one can't go out and purchase a large home and fancy cars, go on lots of cruises, and still have money left over, but just putting it in CDs would yield almost $60,000 a year.  In many cases, adding $60,000 a year would more than double the family income. For a married couple who has always wanted children but need 2 incomes to make ends meet, this would allow them to start a family without worrying about daycare.  Many women get depressed when they go back to work immediately after giving birth, and that extra money would be a blessing, allowing her to stay home for a few years (or longer)

              At my age, I could pay cash for a new 2 or 3 bedroom home, payoff my debts (loans, credit cards) and still have over 1/2 million in the bank for security.  If I decided to invest it and keep working, in 10 years that money would double.  For me that definitely would be a big change.

              PS:  Regarding the article...congrats to the winner.  She sounds like a terrific person. 

                psykomo's avatar - animal shark.jpg

                United States
                Member #4877
                May 30, 2004
                5219 Posts
                Posted: April 28, 2007, 11:50 am - IP Logged


                LOL in Lost<<< vegas $$$$$$$$!