Get some advice
Big jackpots are wildly exciting but after the initial thrill, you need to get practical. Handling a lot of money can be complicated and you should get some expert advice on your state or country legislation regarding income and taxation.
If you hit a jackpot, keep in mind that you do not have to withdraw the funds immediately from the casino, which gives you time to get in touch with the right people and plot a course for managing your newfound wealth.
Pay off your debts
It might be tempting to go nuts with your winnings, buying homes, cars and vacations left and right. But your first priority should be to clear any debts you already have. This means your debts won’t have any more time to accrue interest – the sooner you pay them off, the less chance they have to grow. It may not be the most glamorous thing you can spend your money on but not owing anything is certainly a relief!
Make a plan
Once you claim your winnings, it is a good idea to figure out how you want to use them, not just at that moment but over the years to come. Put together a team of professionals – an accountant, a lawyer and an investment adviser – to come up with a long-term financial plan and act as a sort of impartial ‘board of directors’ for your wealth, ensuring that only the soundest decisions are made.
They will also help you to protect your assets, plan charitable donations and make wise investment choices. Estate planning will also be a consideration and a good team will make that happen for you.
Live on a budget
This might sound counter-intuitive, now that you are hypothetically rolling in money, but it is a fact that many jackpot winners go on to lose not just their winnings, but any other assets they had accumulated before their win. Coming into a large sum of money might tempt the winner to spend lavishly, quickly draining their bank account and potentially setting them up for more debt.
Give yourself a monthly budget. There is no need to be frugal but frivolous spending should be limited. It’s all well and good winning a heap of money but it won’t be worth much if you spend it all on rubbish.
All this talk of being responsible shouldn’t obscure the fact that you have just won a jackpot! Once you’ve settled the technical details, you should definitely look into spending some of it to make your dreams come true.
Maybe take that world trip you’ve always wanted to take. Or perhaps you want to start your own business. Help pay for your sister’s wedding or replace your parents’ battered old car. Donate to your favourite charity or help support a cause you are passionate about. Set aside a percentage of your winnings to spend as you like – have fun!