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Winning a big lottery not without its own cost

Jan 3, 2004, 9:10 pm

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After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Winning a big lottery not without its own cost

If Donald Trump won the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot, he could lasso the windfall like a seasoned financial cowboy, invest his winnings, and fly off to a luxurious ski trip with his playmate of the month.

But what about the guy in blue jeans beaming into a news camera with an oversized lottery check?

That Average Joe might want to enlist in Susan Bradley's lottery boot camp for instant millionaires.

"Really rich people do play the lottery, but nine out of 10 times it's someone who's more average," said Bradley, founder of the Sudden Wealth Institute in Florida. The institute trains financial advisers and offers private consultations.

Of all potential windfalls, the lottery winner's is the most exaggerated, Bradley said. Unlike inheritance or large lawsuit wins, there's no lead up.

After the hugs and cheers, then what? The winner may have no experience with financial planners and have no idea how to find a trustworthy one, she said.

"And it's not just about money," Bradley said.

"Everything in their life has just changed." Lottery officials drew the Mega Millions winning numbers Tuesday. One ticket,sold at a South Euclid food shop,matches exactly. The winner has 180 days from the drawing to claim the prize,the largest jackpot in state history. The winner must choose whether to take the one chunk of $95 million (before taxes)or 26 annual payments of about $6.2 million.In most cases,financial planner Greg Althans recommends the lump sum.

"The value of money is typically worth more today than stretched out over many years," said Althans,senior managing director at Cleveland 's Fairport Asset Management.

The ultimate goal is principal preservation,Althans said. Wise investors could stretch winnings for decades."The key is to make sure you step back and take a deep breath before making major decisions,"he said.

Althan 's advice:Invest in a diversified portfolio and draw no more than 4-5 percent of after tax assets a year.

It 's harder to put a figure on the personal toll of winning, as Andrew "Jack "Whittaker of West Virginia learned. A year ago,Whittaker won the richest undivided lottery jackpot in U.S. history $314.9 million, payable in an after-tax lump sum of $113 million.

He and his family consented to a round of national interviews that drew unwanted attention and aggravation.Later,his granddaughter lost almost all her friends,thousands of hard-luck letters poured in and so did unannounced visitors asking for money.

Winning a huge sum of cash can be both stressful and fabulous, Bradley said.

"It seems there 's a bias in this country that we want people with money not to be happy so we don 't have to feel so bad about not having any,"she said.

Cleveland Plain Dealer

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5 comments. Last comment 17 years ago by mayan27.
Page 1 of 1
whodeani's avatar - lightening

United States
Member #2484
October 9, 2003
212 Posts
Posted: January 4, 2004, 6:15 am - IP Logged

"The value of money is typically worth more today than stretched out over many years."

This is why you always take the cash. $162 million isn't going to be worth $162 million 25 years from now when you finally received all the money. You want what the money is worth in today's dollars. Take $60 million lump sum after taxes and invest it (you will do better than an annuity would) and you can live off the interest and never touch the principal.

    hypersoniq's avatar - binary
    United States
    Member #1340
    April 6, 2003
    2450 Posts
    Posted: January 4, 2004, 6:58 am - IP Logged

    Susan has a website...


    Playing more than one ticket per game is betting against yourself.

      visiondude's avatar - eye3logo
      light on my feet
      United States
      Member #356
      May 20, 2002
      2744 Posts
      Posted: January 4, 2004, 9:33 pm - IP Logged
      Quote: O

                  "i am .........."meant to"       

      P.S.,  that RJoH  is a stand up guy.  thanks,  vision

               until further notice,  it's  france everyday

        United States
        Member #379
        June 5, 2002
        11296 Posts
        Posted: January 5, 2004, 8:17 am - IP Logged

        And that's why all games should allow the cash/annuity choice to be made AFTER winning.

          mayan27's avatar - Lottery-009.jpg
          United States
          Member #2426
          October 2, 2003
          84 Posts
          Posted: January 6, 2004, 5:04 pm - IP Logged


            I will always take cash over annuitycuz as the saying goes,"The bird in your hands is better than the thousand in the air".