Though investing is one of the smartest ways to grow your wealth, it's not the only way. A lucky few become instant multimillionaires thanks to the lottery.
If you want to take a chance on joining them, Wednesday night's Powerball drawing is expected to be the second largest prize in history. After no one had Saturday's numbers, the total pot rose to $700 million.
Winners choose to receive the money in either 30 annual allotments over 29 years or to get it all at once in a single payment for a smaller amount. For example, a lump sum on the $700 million would be $443.3 million. Lottery site USAMega.com estimates the federal tax withholding would be about $110.8 million. Then, there are state taxes too.
Still, a few hundred million dollars isn't too shabby for buying a $2 ticket.
Here are the top five prizes ever won.
There were three winning tickets for history's biggest prize, which was drawn on Jan. 13, 2016, according to CNN Money.
John and Lisa Robinson in Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt in Florida and Marvin and Mae Acosta in California all had the option of roughly $533 million before taxes as an annuity or $327.8 million as the lump-sum payment.
The Robinsons' winning ticket was one of four they bought at a grocery store, they tell NBC's TODAY show. They opted to take the lump sum. "We're not guaranteed tomorrow," says John.
The Acostas remained anonymous for months after winning, but released a statement saying they were thankful for the "rare gift that has been placed in our care."
In March 2012, Mega Millions also had three winning tickets.
In Maryland, a state that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, three school employees claimed their share under the name "The Three Amigos. "
The third winner in Kansas remains anonymous.
Tran called his boss to say "I don't think I'm going to come in today, tomorrow or ever," according to NBC Bay Area. Jennifer's Gift Shop, where Tran bought several tickets, received $1 million for selling the winner — a perk given in several states.
Curry bought her tickets as a last-minute decision and selected a combination of family birthdays and her lucky number seven.
Both went with the lump sum option of $173 million.
In May 2013, Gloria Mackenzie in Florida won a jackpot worth about $590 million, the biggest in American history to be won by only one person. She chose to receive the one-time payment of about $370 million before taxes.
"It couldn't have happened to a nicer person," one of her neighbors told NBC.
Cindy and Mark Hill won half the jackpot, or about $293.7 million in November 2012. While their daughter Jaiden, 6 years old at the time, asked to buy a pony with the winnings, Cindy said, "The pony's not going to be for a while." Instead, the family planned to stick to saving for college and taking vacations.
A winner in Arizona chose to remain anonymous, but was later revealed as Matthew Good through a public records request by the Associated Press.
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