Money

This dad bought a scratch-off lottery ticket on his lunch break — and won $10 million

James Belich, of Lancaster, S.C., won $10 million after buying a scratch-off lottery ticket.
Source: North Carolina Education Lottery

There's nothing out of the ordinary about trying to fit in a few errands during your lunch break at work. But for one South Carolina man, a recent lunch break purchase ended up making him a millionaire.

James Belich, a logistics manager who lives in Lancaster, S.C. and works about an hour's drive away, in Charlotte, N.C., decided to stop at a convenience store to buy a scratch-off lottery ticket during his lunch break earlier this month. Belich scratched off the $30 "Supreme Riches" ticket while still in the Charlotte-area store, and he quickly realized that he'd just won $10 million, according to a press release from NC Education Lottery.

"You never expect it," Belich told state lottery officials. "You think maybe you'll win something, but not $10 million. It's unbelievable."

When Belich got home after winning the lottery, he tried to tell his wife and two young sons about his big day, but he was speechless.

"When he got home, he was so shocked all he could do was hold the ticket up in front of my face," Belich's wife, Emily, told state lottery officials. "Our two boys are too young to really understand. Our oldest is 5 and he thinks we won $20."

Belich had the option of choosing either a $10 million annuity, which would have paid him 20 annual payments of $500,000 over the next two decades. But, he opted instead for the lump sum prize of $6 million. After the necessary state and federal tax hits, Belich will be left with roughly $4.25 million, lottery officials said in the press release.

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(Various financial experts, including investor and entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary, typically advise lottery winners to take the lump sum option and invest the money in relatively safe, long-term stocks, rather than opting for annuity payments.)

Belich and his family don't have plans to make any big lifestyle changes despite their major windfall.

"We like where we live, it's great to raise a family," Belich says in the press release. "We may buy a few extra rounds for folks when we go out, but this prize will create a brighter future for our kids. That's what's important. It's awesome, just a blessing."

Belich beat huge odds to win his big prize. The Supreme Riches scratch-off game has odds of roughly 1 in 3.2 million to win one of four total $10 million prizes (players can also win smaller prizes, ranging from $30 to $1 million), according to the state lottery's website.

While Belich is busy celebrating his lucky scratch-off purchase, other lottery players across the country currently have their eyes fixed on the growing multimillion-dollar jackpots on offer from the Mega Millions and Powerball lottery games.

After no winners emerged from Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing, that game's jackpot jumped to $444 million for the next drawing on Friday. And the Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night's drawing is now at $325 million.

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