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Protecting Your Lottery Winnings


"After a big lottery win, planning is everything" says Anderson, lead programmer at Lotto Buster Software. "The initial decisions you make are going to determine if the money will bring you great happiness or if you are destined to become another ‘riches to rag’ story."

So what should you do if you hit ‘the big one’? Anderson advises that you do the following before spending any money or making any commitments.

  • Get an unlisted phone number:
    You have no idea how many long lost friends and relatives you have until you come into a lot of money. You are also going to become the target for every con artist and crackpot that can read a newspaper.

  • Take a leave of absence from your job:
    You have a lot of planning to do and many important decisions to make. This is best done without distractions. Also, be aware that after a big lotto win, many employers view you as someone that is in the position to quit without notice and that coworkers may often view you with jealousy or become angry if you refuse to lend them money or invest in their 'great idea'.

  • Get a good tax lawyer:
    I am not talking the local H&R Block corner store. You need a firm that can advise you on how best to minimize your tax burden. These guys are expensive, but if you pay them $5000.00 to reduce your tax burden by $20,000.00, you are 15k ahead.
    Also a big issue, depending on your States laws, is the setting up of a Trust Fund. Trust Funds in many States can help shield your money and set out limitations that could keep you from going broke.

  • Get a reputable investment counselor:
    During the first 90 days after your win you are probably not going to be ready to start investing but you do need to establish a relationship with an investment counselor that can guide you in some of the day to day decisions you are going to be making. Like a good tax lawyer, these guys are expensive but will more then pay for themselves by providing sound investment decisions.
    A big item here is to hire an investment counselor, or firm, that is more interested in your welfare than in large commissions. I would advise you find one that works on a straight fee and not on commission.

  • Pay off your debts:
    We all owe someone for something and most of us build our lives around those monthly payments. Treat yourself to waking up in the morning knowing that you are finally out of debt. The exception is very large debts such as a large mortgage loan. Paying of large debts should be done only after consulting with your investment counselor.
  • Have a little fun:
    Set aside 5% of your 'after tax' money to take a trip or go on a spending spree. Buy that big screen TV that you always wanted, get your sister that new stove she needs, buy your brother a pool table. A trip on a cruise line is always a great way to unwind and take a breather.
    The important rule here is to indulge yourself, without going crazy and always keeping it reasonable. Decisions on buying a new house or that $400,000 Porsche should be made after the next step.

  • Back off and see what you have really won:
    The majority of winners are shocked to find that, after the dust settles, their 1 million dollar win is actually more like 650 thousand dollars. After you have met with your tax lawyer, your investment counselor, and paid off your debts, you should take a hard look at what you really have to work with.
    That done, you are now ready to map out your new life. Sit down with your investment counselor and build a plan that best accomplishes your new goals.

  • Good Works:
    If the lady luck has smiled upon you, think about giving a bit to charity or your church. Not only will you feel good but, as your tax lawyer will tell you, there are actually some financial advantages.

"Lastly, always remember what happened to the man who woke up one morning to find his every wish had come true," says Anderson "he lived happily ever after."

Author's Link: Protecting Your Lottery Winnings

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