So You Won The Lottery… What’s The Next Step?

It’s a normal day like any other, and you’re looking at your Powerball lottery ticket, watching the live draw. Oh, you’ve matched one number – that’s pretty cool, right off the bat. What’s that, you’ve got two in a row now? Three… Four… This can’t be happening! Surely the last couple numbers will come up differently. Oh my gosh, you’ve just hit five in a row – that at least means you’re walking away with a million dollars. Honestly, you’d be more than happy just to take the million dollars!

Then it happens: that Powerball number is announced. You look down at your card in total disbelief as it finally sinks in. You’ve just hit all six numbers. Your mind is racing and your palms are sweaty; just this morning you were thinking to yourself, imagine if you won the Powerball lottery today, and now it’s actually happening. Paralyzed by excitement, flushed with disbelief, you realize that your whole life is about to change. So what are your next steps?


The first thing you want to do is take a deep breath. You are going to need your composure to deal with the next steps properly, so, as excited as you are, you need to just relax a bit. Don’t phone every relative to tell them the good news, don’t go honking your car horn around the neighbourhood, and certainly don’t post anything on social media… at least not yet.

How Do You Want Your Money?

Once you handed your ticket in and have been confirmed a winner, you have a simple but impactful choice to make: do you want your jackpot as a lump sum of cash or as an annuity, paid to you yearly. You might intuitively, instinctively want to choose the former, because, after all, it’s your money and you want it all now. But according to this Investopedia article by a certified financial planner, the annuity is the better choice, since it’s ultimately subject to less tax, and can help your avoid overspending.

Have A Media Strategy

Should you talk to the media or keep a low profile? Ultimately, the choice is yours and all depends on whether you like the whole fame aspect of winning. Beware, however, that with the media spotlight will come hundreds of people that you know, including relatives, friends and casual acquaintances, all looking for a handout. Keeping a low profile allows you to choose who knows about your recent windfall, which can be a good thing.

Don’t Too Anything Too Rash, Too Quickly

It’s awfully tempting to want to call your boss and quit your job, but you have to wonder if that’s really the best step. For many, work can be a source of fulfillment, and without it they feel like they can’t lead a regular life anymore. Also, don’t go buying that jumbo jet just yet. Sit down with some trusted financial experts (not some opportunistic “finance guy” who contacts you after he’s heard about your winnings) and have a frank discussion about how to proceed with your newfound wealth.

Winning the Powerball is going to change your life forever. That’s for certain. If you find out you’ve won, make sure to take the right steps and make the right decisions so that you can enjoy your jackpot to the fullest extent.