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What would you do if you won the lottery Why?

Why Play the Lottery?

Playing the lottery offers the chance to win a life-changing amount of money. While the odds of winning are extremely low, many people dream of hitting the jackpot and imagining how that money could dramatically improve their lives. Some key reasons people play the lottery include:

  • The fantasy of instant wealth – Winning millions of dollars in the lottery provides the excitement of radically transforming your financial situation overnight.
  • Hope for a better life – For people struggling financially, winning the lottery represents hope for paying off debts, buying a dream home, helping loved ones, and living without money stress.
  • Fun of playing – For a small cost, lottery tickets provide entertainment and a bit of escapism as players dream about the “what ifs.”
  • Supporting a good cause – Many lottery games generate money for education, environmental causes, college scholarships, and other public programs.

While winning the lottery is exceedingly rare, the excitement it generates can be worth the small price of a ticket for many people.

How Much Could You Win?

Lottery jackpots can range from hundreds of thousands to many hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the game. In the U.S., two of the biggest lottery games are:

  • Powerball – Powerball jackpots begin at $40 million and roll over if there is no grand prize winner. The record Powerball jackpot to date is $1.586 billion shared by three tickets in January 2016.
  • Mega Millions – Mega Millions starts its jackpots at $40 million as well and holds the current record lottery jackpot of $1.537 billion won by one ticket in October 2018.

State-level lottery games also frequently have jackpots ranging from $10 million up to $100 million or more. Given the right lottery game and roll-over period without a winner, jackpots can grow to staggering sums.

Deciding How to Take the Money

One important choice you’ll have to make if you win the lottery is whether to take a lump sum payment or annuity payments over many years.

Lump Sum Payment

Choosing to take a lump sum means you get all the lottery winnings at once in one payment. The advantages of a lump sum include:

  • Immediate access to the full amount of money
  • Flexibility to decide how to invest and spend the money
  • Avoiding long-term payment risks from potential lottery agency issues
  • Typically higher lump sums for lottery winners who die early

The downsides of a lump sum include:

  • Paying higher taxes all at once
  • Higher risk of wasting the money quickly
  • Potential security and stress risks from sudden wealth

Annuity Payments

Choosing to take annuity payments spreads the lottery winnings over 20 or more years. Some benefits of annuity payments include:

  • Steady income stream for life without investment risks
  • Lower overall tax burden spread over time
  • Forced discipline of not having access to full winnings immediately

Downsides of annuity payments include:

  • Loss of flexibility and control over money
  • Risk of lottery agency defaulting on payments
  • Payments stop at death unless winners opt for survivor benefits

In most cases, a lump sum ends up being a significantly higher amount than the total of annuity payments. But annuities provide the reliability of a steady income stream for life.

Initial Steps After Winning

Once you win the lottery, there are some important initial steps you should take.

  • Remain anonymous – If allowed by state law, remain anonymous to avoid security risks and inundation of requests.
  • Get professional advice – Hire a lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor to help manage your money responsibly.
  • Pay off debts – Get out of high-interest debt like credit cards to achieve a clean slate.
  • Make a budget – Develop a realistic budget that reflects your financial goals and newfound wealth.
  • Plan for taxes – Understand tax obligations and set aside a portion to cover state and federal taxes.

Resist making any big lifestyle changes or purchases in the first months. Take time to let your winnings sink in and carefully plan your next steps.

How Could Lottery Winnings Change Your Life?

Coming into millions of dollars can profoundly impact your life. Some of the biggest changes that could come from winning the lottery include:

Greater Financial Security

The sudden influx of wealth provides tremendous financial security. You can pay off mortgages, car loans, student loans, and any other debt. With wise investing, you can generate passive income streams that cover living expenses. Winning the lottery provides complete peace of mind around finances.

Flexibility in Time

With your basic needs easily covered, you gain tremendous flexibility with your time. You can retire early from your job if desired. Time-consuming chores like cooking and cleaning can be outsourced. Winning the lottery provides more freedom to spend time however you want.

New Opportunities

Whether it’s always wanted to start a business, pursue educational opportunities, travel the world, or dedicate time to a cause, lottery winnings make it possible. Any interests or dreams that have been on hold due to lack of money become open possibilities with your windfall.

Stronger Relationships

In addition to material possessions, lottery winnings also enable strengthening relationships with loved ones. You can spend more quality time together. For family members in need, you can now generously provide assistance. Overall, money can help facilitate deeper bonds.

Improved Health and Wellbeing

Research shows that coming into money can also improve both physical and psychological health. Without financial stress, you experience less anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. With greater time freedom and access to quality care, you can focus more on fitness, diet, and self-care as well.

Increased Giving Back

For lottery winners who wish to make a difference, new wealth also opens up philanthropic possibilities. You can make sizable donations to charity. Establishing your own foundation provides structured giving. Contributing to causes important to you gives new meaning.

Of course, sudden wealth can also introduce challenges like navigating public attention. But the opportunities made possible by lottery fortunes have the potential to transform lives in overwhelmingly positive ways.

Critical First Purchases

While many lottery winners go on spending sprees, some discipline in the early months is wise. But there may be some prudent purchases worth making soon after winning.

Purchase Reason
New home Larger, more secure property with privacy for you and your family
Professional services Wealth management expertise to prudently invest winnings
Debt repayment Pay off high-interest credit cards, loans, and mortgages
Car Reliable new vehicle that meets your transportation needs
Vacation Celebratory trip for you and your loved ones
Charitable contribution Donation recognizing your good fortune

While buying flashy luxury items may be tempting, keeping initial purchases modest and practical sets you up for financial success.

Top Priorities for Spending

Once you’ve taken care of critical purchases, it’s smart to think intentionally about how you want to spend your windfall over time. Here are some of the best uses for lottery winnings:


Sitting down with financial advisors and investing your winnings enables continual growth. Combining stocks, bonds, real estate, and other assets provides steady passive income. Taking time to understand your options makes the money work for you over the long-run.


If you’ve always wanted to go back to school, lottery fortunes make this dream achievable. You can pay for any additional education with ease. Lifelong learning enriches your life. This money can fund specialized degrees, career changes, and intellectual curiosities without financial limitations.

Starting a Business

Fulfilling a lifelong entrepreneurial vision becomes realistic with your windfall. Taking a risk on a startup or small business you’re passionate about is suddenly viable. With wise guidance, investing in your own company can be highly rewarding.


Having ample leisure time and few financial restrictions allows you to travel widely. You can experience new cultures and gain memorable life experiences. Round-the-world trips become attainable. Your lottery win allows you to see the world.


Giving back provides meaning and significance to lottery fortunes. You can donate to important causes close to your heart. Establishing your own foundation creates a structure for sustained giving. Volunteering your time is also powerful. Your wealth enables making lasting change.

Family and Friends

Sharing life-changing windfalls with loved ones who matter most is hugely rewarding. In addition to material gifts, you can provide lasting security by funding things like college savings for children. Enriching relationships is a wise use of lottery money.

Avoiding Risks and Excess

Coming into sudden wealth can also bring pitfalls if not managed prudently. Some risks that lottery winners should take steps to avoid include:

  • Trusting untrustworthy people – Long-lost friends and relatives may come asking for money.
  • Too much too fast – Making lavish purchases can overwhelm and remove future ambitions.
  • Lack of moderation – Drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other excesses have ruined many winners.
  • Reckless investments – Without discipline, speculative investments often lose money.
  • Publicity problems – Media attention and loss of privacy can create complications.

Carefully choosing trusted advisors, maintaining perspective, sticking to a budget, and keeping your win discreet protects against these downsides.

Maintaining Balance and Perspective

Winning the lottery may seem like a dream come true. But maintaining balance in your life is still critical for lasting fulfillment and happiness. Some tips include:

  • Keep working – Continue in your career if it provides meaning, structure, and relationships.
  • Remain grounded – Don’t lose touch with where you came from and people you care about.
  • Help judiciously – Be cautious about those asking for money to avoid enabling bad habits.
  • Spend below your means – Living below your wealth protects it rather than squandering it.
  • Keep perspective – Remember that money doesn’t define your worth or guarantee happiness.

By keeping your feet on the ground, windfalls can enrich your life without upending it completely.

What Would You Do First?

Coming into a multimillion dollar lottery fortune brings endless possibilities. While making a lengthy bucket list for how to spend it may be fun, what is the very first thing you would do if you won big?

Some possibilities:

  • Take a lavish trip – Relax and celebrate your sudden wealth with an indulgent getaway.
  • Make donations – Experience the joy of giving by making meaningful contributions to charity.
  • Pay off debts – Find relief and peace of mind by eliminating your debt burden.
  • Make investments – Grow your windfall through prudent investments for lasting security.
  • Purchase a new home – Find the perfect dream home to celebrate your winnings.
  • Share with loved ones – Enrich family and friends by generously sharing your fortune.

While there are countless ways to enjoy a financial windfall, the possibilities are endless for changing lives in overwhelmingly positive ways. With responsible planning, a lottery fortune can open up a world of options.


Winning the lottery has the power to radically transform lives in positive ways. While coming into sudden wealth can bring challenges, wise planning minimizes risks and positions you for lasting success. Maintaining grounded perspective allows lottery fortunes to enrich you without losing yourself. With discipline and heart, a multimillion dollar windfall can empower you to realize your wildest dreams and find deeper fulfillment in life.