Win the Mega Millions Jackpot? Don’t Tell Anyone!
TRENTON — What do you do if you beat the odds and win the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpots?
The life of whoever wins the Mega Millions jackpot, which has an annuity value of $1.6 billion, the largest jackpot every offered by in a lottery in the United States, will be forever changed, according to Lou Scatigna, a financial planner who heads up AFM Investments of Toms River.
The annuity value of the Powerball jackpot is $620 million.
"Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. Many people's lives have been ruined by winning the jackpot," he said.
Scatigna advised winners to not tell anyone, change their cell phone number and hire a spokesperson.
"If you win that kind of money now's the time to really lay low until you get your head straight. Coming into that kind of money is an emotional thing. It affects you psychologically. There's so many people out there who want a piece of you once they know you won," Scatgna advised.
Before you go public, Scatigna advises assembling a team that includes an accountant, a certified financial planner and a spokesperson that knows how to handle the pressures from the media.
"You're a big target for people who want to separate you from your money," Scatigna said.
Scatigna also said that if you are playing an office pool to get a copy of the tickets. He also advised that if your pool has players who participate on a regular basis but are out sick make sure to cover them or face potential legal issues.
"If you have the same group that plays all the time and somebody's not there somebody's got to cover for them or you're going to have bad feelings at the least and taint a great win."
New Jersey Lottery Deputy Director John White said the first thing to do is sign the ticket and to seek financial advice.
"When they're comfortable they can contact us and come to us and validate the ticket. Of course they can validate a ticket at any retailer as well," White said.
The next Mega Millions drawing is Tuesday night and Powerball on Wednesday.