First, let it be known that if I won the lottery, it’s because someone bought me a ticket.
So if I won with the ticket someone had given me, I’d scream. Long and loudly. There might be some jumping and squatting mixed intermittently with the screaming, but screaming and jumping would happen.
Like 70% of the people who suddenly come into large amounts of money, I’d probably end up being broke within 3 years by blowing the winnings on paying everything off and taking multiple trips to Europe.
Because I have this problem being identified “status quo,” I did a little research on how to get overwhelmed by the riches (assuming that the ticket garnered millions).
Maria P. Duffy writes in her article “4 Steps to Protect a Windfall” on Bankrate.com that adjusting to a life-altering experience such as the inheritance or winning of large amounts of money can take up to 5 years. During that time, Duffy advises to put 90% of the money in a hard to access place such as a Certificate of Deposit for at least one year, until one’s status can be reviewed with the help of an unrelated financial planner. 10% of the money, Duffy suggests, should be used for “fun money;” although she advises spending it on making memories and not stuff.
Although I found Ms. Duffy’s steps helpful, I wanted something more specific, so I looked to Forbes.
Debra L. Jacobs, author of “10 Things to do When You Win the Lottery,” suggests the following:
1. Remain anonymous, if possible – this will keep the crazies out of your front yard, including needy family.
2. See a tax pro before cashing the ticket –
3. Avoid sudden life changes – okay, so there goes selling this house and buying into the Biltmore Estate.
4. Pay off all debt – not having to pay debt is a total life change. I may not need to touch the winnings if I could actually life debt free, which of course, I’m trying to do.
5. Assemble a team of legal and financial advisers – *brrrring, brrring* “Hello, Warren? From one Nebraskan to another….”
6. Invest prudently – “While I have you on the phone, Warren,…”
7. Live within a budget – It should be easier now that I don’t have to pay credit cards, right?
8. Take steps to protect assets – “Ummm… one last thing, Warren, before I let you go, …”
9. Plan charitable gifts – this doesn’t mean Aunt Susie and cousin Mel. Although they may be charity cases, they do not constitute what Jacobs terms as “charitable gifts.” She does suggest that when one does donate a large sum to charity, to do it anonymously in order to escape being badgered by requests (see #1).
10. Review estate plan – what Jacobs meant to say was make an estate plan. I’m thinking, and I may be wrong about this, that most of the people who play the lottery don’t have an estate plan to begin with; otherwise, they probably wouldn’t be playing the lottery.
Again, although extremely helpful, I was left wanting a percentage breakdown of the money: how much to spend, how much in short term investments, how much in long term investments, etc.
Carle Richards writer for Bucks blog and author of “A Financial Plan for Misbehaving Lottery Winners” (which I would assuredly be), suggests taking 10% of the winnings and going crazy with it – blow it freely and get it out of your system – and then put the remaining 90% in investments. The key, says Richards, is putting “two or three steps between you and your ability to spend the principle,” meaning placing the designated principle amount in an investment that isn’t readily available to you and living comfortably off the interest.
This plan sounded better. I could do that. Just tell me how much I can blow immediately, how much to squirrel away, and how much I have to live on and I can manage. I would have to work, though. There is no way that I couldn’t work and be a happy individual.
I don’t know if I would continue to teach. I may just become a professional writing retreater and attend writing retreats, conferences and workshops all over the country. That sounds like a dandy of a job!
I want a lottery ticket.
What would be your long-term plan if you won the lottery?