What to do if you win the lottery

Posted: 8:27 AM, Jan 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-12 08:27:26-05

With the Powerball jackpot now at a staggering $1.4 billion it's easy to start thinking about everything you could spend it on.

Players like Billy Gischia are hoping $2 will be his ticket to millions.

"I'd buy a house in every continent and then live there a section of the year," Gischia said.

Anna Kouri has her own idea, "I'd just solve poverty."

No matter what they'd do with the jackpot, it's a consensus who they'd call first.

"My mom and my dad," Gischia said.

"My mom, she'd have to know," Kouri said. "Then my grandma."

Financial planners say that's not the best option.

"The one thing you don't do is you really don't tell anybody," said Ted Feight, a certified financial planner at Creative Financial Design.

Feight says a winner's first call should be to a lawyer, then to someone who can help them plan what to do with the check.

"If you think of the kind of responsibility of that kind of money, it starts to scare you a little bit because everybody's going to want your money," Feight added.

It's advice the Michigan Lottery agrees with, which is why it always suggests winners hire an attorney, an accountant, a financial adviser or all three.

"Get them all together in one room and say 'this is all whats going on. What do I want to do?" Feight explained.

Feight says it's always better to take the lump sum, which is now at $868 million.

He says winners shouldn't change much in the first year, suggesting they pay off their bills but not rush into big purchases. Instead he says they should take a few weeks to plan for their future.

"That kind of money is going to go into almost every bank and every brokerage house around the country to make sure that its insured," Feight added.

Advice that might be easier said than done.

"I'd give a lot to family, some to charity but I've got to help myself you know," Gischia said.