Although 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.
Tuesday, one yet-to-be-identified California lottery winner held a U.S. Mega Millions ticket worth $522 million, after buying it at Ernie's Liquors in San Jose. It was the fifth largest prize in Mega Millions history, and is the 11th largest prize in U.S. lottery games.
Lottery winners can choose to receive the money in either an annuity — annual allotments over 30 years — or to get it all at once in a single payment for a smaller amount. For example, the lump sum on the $522 million jackpot would be $308.1 million, according to lottery site USAMega.com. If a single winner takes the single payment, the federal tax withholding would be over $77 million. Then, there are state taxes too.
Still, not too shabby for buying a $2 ticket. Here are the top five prizes ever won.