You’re suddenly filthy rich, thanks to a shocking and utterly satisfying windfall stacked $333 Mega Million bucks over your head.
“Everybody has money problems, it’s just some problems are more fun than others,” said David Fisher, founding partner and chief investment officer at SignatureFD. “Obviously, this would be a nice thing to happen, but it could cause problems.”
Lottery winners have blown it many times over. They’ve lost it in booze and bankruptcy; with compulsive spending and bad investments. They’ve been victims of the unimaginable. And it all leads us to blurt out, “It should have been me. I’d never do that.”
Or so we’d like to think. In the fortunate event that you are the lucky individual holding the $333 million ticket in hand — the largest in two years — you don’t want to travel the road of rags to riches, and double-back. To help you, we’ve solicited the sage advice of metro Atlanta financial advisors and asked what a winner should do if he or she awakens this morning in possession of a piece of paper worth a wad of cash.
# Breathe. Take a timeout and gather your emotions. You’ll soon be inundated and people will come out of the woodwork. Make sure you have both feet on the ground and a level head so you can make intelligent decisions. Said Fisher: “Whether someone inherits money or they sell a company or however they come about it, there’s a lot of emotion. We tell people not to make any decisions for some time; sometimes six months or a year or two years. There’s a lot of euphoria and excitement and emotion. You have more money than you’ll ever need, so you don’t have to rush through anything. You have to get through those emotional stages.”
# Before you talk to anyone, talk to a trusted fiduciary, an attorney and an accountant,” said Helga Cuthbert, a certified financial planner in Decatur with Cuthbert Financial Guidance. “Think of them as your team. Before I would claim the money, I would first find people I’m comfortable with, and then have a conversation with them.”
#Take the money and run. Or at least walk. “Clearly, you want to take the lump sum option,” said Andy Berg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Homrich Berg. “You want the bird in the hand. You don’t want to take the risk of whether or not future payments are going to happen.”
# Keep it simple. Added Berg: “The winner needs to avoid the temptation of what I would term ’sexy investments’ and stick to trying to be conservative. Hit singles, because you don’t need doubles, triples or home runs.”
# Assess your priorities. Cuthbert said it is clear that many people fail to spend time figuring out what’s most important in their lives and what joys they are anticipating. Think about family, charities or other priorities and how you’d best want to handle them. “It can turn into a real albatross around their neck,” she said, if it isn’t given careful consideration.
What would you do first if you won?
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