Dreams DO come true and you woke up to find that YOU bought the winning Mega Millions ticket and YOU are the lucky winner of $1.6 billion dollars! You pass out from shock, you pick yourself up off the ground, double check your ticket to make sure you weren't hallucinating, and YES, you ARE the winner! Wooo!!!
Now what?? What should your first steps be after realizing you're now a multi-millionaire? Chances are, you've never had a seven- or eight-figure bank balance before (if you have, that's great..but why were you playing the lottery if you were already filthy rich?), and you might not know how to handle that much money. What you do next will make or break you as you move forward.
Here's what experts say you should do first:
1) Sign the ticket. That way, if it's lost or stolen, no one else can claim your prize.
2) Don't. Tell. ANYONE. I know it's tempting to want to brag to all of your friends and quit your dead-end job, but you're playing a long game now. Life is about to get very crazy, in a way most of us can't even imagine. People you haven't spoken to in years will come crawling out of the woodwork asking for money. Not to mention, you'll have a target on your back for crooks who want to steal what you now have. It's best to keep this to yourself as long as you can.
3) Hire an attorney and a financial adviser. You're in uncharted territory. You've never had this much money and you'll need help. The decisions you make now will have a huge impact on your life moving forward. Therefore, don’t make any decisions until you have a lawyer and financial planner to help you navigate things. Plus, having someone to help you learn how to best use your new wealth will keep you from pulling an MC Hammer and blowing your winnings on Ferarris and private islands...tempting though they may be.
4) Did you win as part of an office pool? Better learn to play nice! Yes, even with that annoying coworker that no one likes. Until each member of the party has money in their hands, you're all in this together, and you need to calmly come up with a plan as to how the winnings will be collected and dispersed; any infighting is likely to delay that big fat check being deposited in your name!
CNN has an interesting piece on why winning the lottery isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Now good luck!