Winners of the Powerball lottery jackpot describe the moment as unreal – when they hear that sixth matched number called, it’s as though they have stepped into a dream. In an instant, their life has gone from ordinary, to beyond extraordinary. Suddenly, they are no longer David from Brooklyn or Lerynne from Iowa; they are multi-millionaires with the press knocking at their door. 

As exhilarating as the moment is, it can also be confusing, since going from a modest salary to a cheque for hundreds of millions of dollars can be quite the shock to the system. It is easy to say that not much will change, but just imagine your life if you won the Powerball jackpot: there would be a lot to consider. 

To that end, this article will detail a few things you should do – and a few things you shouldn’t – if you win big on your lottery ticket. 

Do: Choose the Annuity

Upon winning the Powerball jackpot, you will be given the choice between taking the money as a lump sum or as an annuity – that is, the jackpot amount paid in increments over the course of 30 years. 

Many people hear this choice, and instinctively want to choose the lump sum. Theymay mistrust the lottery’s capacity to continue paying over the 30 years, or they just want to see all their money at once. But many financial experts say that it’s better to take the annuity, as you will pay a lower income tax and will have a much lower chance of blowing your money. 

Don’t: Blow All Your Money at Once

If you do choose the lump sum, be careful not to spend extravagantly right out the gate. It is wiser to invest some of the winnings, and continue to live a relatively similar life as before (albeit with a little more glamor!) 

Do: Remain Private

If you are given the option to remain private, take it. While it’s tempting to want to revel in the spotlight, the increased visibility will only be a nuisance. People from all corners of your life will be knocking on your door for a handout, and that is not something you need. 

Don’t: Go It Alone

While you may not want to advertise your big windfall, there is one person you might want to consult: a financial advisor. A Powerball jackpot is a humungous amount of money, and that much money requires a detailed plan. Be wary of any finance expert that contact you, though, as they may be an opportunist. Instead, seek out a financial advisor with a sworn fiduciary duty, who are legally bound to work in your best interest.

Be prepared for the most exciting time of your life. Be prepared to manage your money effectively, to preserve your privacy and to protect your winnings. And, most of all, be prepared to sit back, relax and enjoy the good life. Good luck!