What would you do if you won a multi-million dollar lottery? Strategies for not having the windfall ruin your life

Friday’s MEGA Millions is up to $502 million. What would you do if you won so the windfall doesn’t ruin your life?

I found this Reddit thread to be interesting and it strikes me as solid advice: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/24vo34/whats_the_happiest_5word_sentence_you_could_hear/chb38xf/ (tl;dr - Winning the lottery ruins most people’s lives. Get a trust attorney, take the lump sum, decide in advance how much to give out to friends/family and stick w/ it, set up a trust so it can’t all be spent at once, etc.)

It all seems reasonable to me. Anything the FWF (or whatever we call ourselves now) community would change?

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We had a bunch of these topics on FWF. The reddit advice looks solid. I’d hire a team – lawyers, accountants, and possibly security.

Also lump sum and taxes will take more than half of that number. Still a good chunk :slight_smile:

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I don’t see how a few $MMM could “ruin my life”. Sure, I’d quit my job, though, if ~2% of assets gave me more income than I would from working all day.

I’m already semi-retired and frugal. It’s unlikely a major bump in my net worth at 51 would ruin my life. I would try to keep it a secret though. It wouldn’t be that hard to just pretend I live in hotels from miles and points wizardry anyway.

I’d probably annuitize a portion of it just in case it turns out I’m no different than the others.

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Wow! Five hours and no one? Really? H&B, baby. :wink:

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It was mentioned in the linked reddit post.

The Reddit thread ( https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/24vo34/whats_the_happiest_5word_sentence_you_could_hear/chb38xf/ ) has some stats and examples as to how winning the lottery ruins lives. Significant increases in probability to being a kidnapping or homicide victim, constant harassment from people wanting money, no longer being able to trust people you had previously considered friends, etc. One story is included of a businessman who already had a net worth of 15+ million, won over $114 million after taxes, pledged to live his life the same as before, and still had his life ruined.

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What’s the best way to pull up old FWF content now? Using tips in Pulling up old Fatwallet content (Post requests for threads and tips here) I wasn’t able to find anything and (unless I missed it) Hosting Old FWF Content never happened.

Thanks!

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I would use a lawyer/trust/shill so that my identity would be kept secret.

It wouldn’t ruin my life as I’m close to FI right now and could be leading a much more extravagant/materialistic life, but that doesn’t have much appeal for me.

I would make sure my immediate family members had an annuity to take care of their basic needs. I would give a lot away to charity. I would outsource the things that I don’t particularly enjoy doing (and probably some of the things I do enjoy).

I would probably do some angel investing to keep things interesting.

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I’m more interested in this than in what to do if I win the lotto.

Can we download the archive ourselves? Anyone??

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Yes, keeping the winnings a secret and annuitizing (real word?) the winnings does seem to be a lot of the crux of the Reddit thread. Would seem to help avoid a lot of the issues that lottery winners suffer.

Seems to me that the two keys here would be keeping anonymity, and setting up a process so that one can manage new temptations and problems in a thoughtful manner.

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My solution to the temptation management was just getting older and having a family. Some of the vices of my past are just uninteresting to me now.

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Last I checked, some states (like CA) don’t allow you to claim lottery winnings anonymously.

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There are a handful of states that allow you to collect anonymously. In addition to those, there are some states that allow you to pay the lottery winnings to a trust.

Interesting. I wasn’t aware of that. I have heard of people assigning the winnings to a trust and/or a company to preserve their anonymity. A quick Google search didn’t turn up anything definitively on whether or not California allows that.

A recent court case may serve as a precedent to stopping compulsory disclosure of winners’ names. Case was in New Hampshire though:

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If I won an 8-9 figure payout, it seems like a pretty straightforward exercise to just go claim the winnings in a state that allows anonymity or claiming via trust.

“Move” to an apartment and get a residential address there, if you have to.

Small potatoes in the face of preserving your privacy.

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Two chicks at the same time.

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I would look into that if I were you. It may be the state where you purchased the ticket whose rules apply.

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