2019 has already proven lucky for at least one person.
The winning Mega Millions ticket, worth a whopping $425 million, was drawn on New Year's Day in Glen Head, New York. It's the eighth largest jackpot in the game's history.
While the winning ticket holder(s) just got rich, that doesn't mean all their will go away. In fact, lottery winners are actually more likely to declare bankruptcy than the average American.
CNBC Make It spoke to some money experts about coming into a huge windfall. Here are three mistakes they say you should avoid if you want to make the most of your money.
While $425 million seems like a lot, it can vanish quickly if you're not responsible with it. Instead of splurging on an airplane or a yacht, place a significant portion of the the winnings in an , a high-interest earning savings account and/or a . You could also if you follow the advice of the experts.
Get rid of your loans and other obligations, too. "Pay off all high-interest debt immediately, and then tackle the rest of your debt," says Rich Ramassini, a certified financial planner and director of strategy and sales performance at PNC Investments.
"The remaining funds can be used for your and put aside for ."
And then have some fun, he says: "Do not deprive yourself. After you have met all other obligations and consulted a team of professionals, feel free to spend a bit on a or a ."
Managing millions is a huge responsibility. Don't be afraid to ask for help. "The first thing to do is contact a financial planner and an accountant," says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at consumer financial company Bankrate.
"Don't quit your job or make any big decisions. That can wait until the dust settles."
A planner can help prioritize your needs and create a budget, Ramassini says, and can also help you decide whether to take the money in a lump sum or in a series of payments.
"Think of this person as the quarterback of your advisory team. He or she will review your new financial situation and help you establish your goals for spending, saving, . They will help you outline short- and long-term goals while factoring in the outlook for inflation and investment market volatility over the next 50 years, depending on your life expectancy."
Also, a planner "will advise you about the tax obligations related to your winnings and how they may impact your planning" and "prioritize how to allocate the remainder to meet your financial goals."
"When you're talking about that large of an amount," says Nick Holeman, a certified financial planner at online-investment company Betterment, "your situation gets very complicated, very quickly. You'll be subject to higher rates of taxes, your tax deductions get phased out … and you have new taxes that you weren't even subject to before."
You may want to consider hiring an attorney who can strategize with you about how to protect your money, now and going forward. "You will need their help in preparing a will and an or trust accounts that reflect your newfound financial prosperity," says Ramassini.
"Those documents are designed to protect your financial future, as well as provide for future generations."
Aside from a few family members, your close friends and your financial team, you shouldn't broadcast to the world that you just won the lottery. Unfortunately, . A New Hampshire woman holding the winning Jan. 6, 2018, $559.7 million Powerball ticket had to go to court in a fight to remain unnamed.
Some states will allow winners to remain anonymous. Others are less forgiving, including New York. Still, if you live in a state that will publicize your identity, you can usually create a trust fund or another legal entity to receive your winnings.
If you plan ahead, it may be easier to keep a low profile. "While you might want to shout this life-changing news from the rooftops," Ramassini says, limit your circle of confidantes.
"Money can change, disrupt or . It can also lead to you hearing from relatives or friends you never knew existed," he says. Plus, "fraudsters and thieves are paying very close attention and are already scheming up ways to find the winner and steal his or her money."
This story was originally published on October 22, 2018, and has been updated to include news about the latest Mega Millions jackpot.
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