Published on September 13, 2018

No, not the TV game show, but from winning on actually scratching off that big winner or selecting the matching numbers to the jackpot. Pretty much everyone on this planet has thought about what it would be like to have it all, and what easier way than to have a lump sum of money handed over from the state, or anyone really?

My husband asks me on a regular basis “What’s the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?” My answer is always the same. I would do three things.

1. Call a lawyer

2. Call our financial advisor


Doesn’t sound like much fun, huh? I’m the practical one in the relationship and he’s the dreamer. When he presses me for how I’d spend the money, I usually reply with how I’d pay off all our debts and ask the financial advisor what to do next. His answers are way more fun, like going through a list of fancy cars he wants and a lake house always enters the conversation.

There’s also the debate about whether you would you take the lump sum or annuity payments over many years? It’s tempting to cash in for all of the money now and roll around in dollar bills in your bedroom like the scene in a movie. This question is where your advisor comes into play and how you plan to proceed with your newfound fortune. There’s no guarantee the state will even have the funds down the road to give you the money if you choose the annuity. The recent mess with the halt of lottery payments in Illinois is a perfect example.

I enjoy watching the HGTV show “Lottery Dream Home” where lottery winners go on a hunt to purchase their new home. It’s interesting to see what’s important to some people, like the guy who insisted on having as many bathrooms in his home as they could find. I think they even toured a home with eight bathrooms! Contrast that with the show “The Lottery Ruined My Life” on the TLC network. The show interviews winners being sued for their prizes, people from all over asking for money, family relationships destroyed, poor choices and financial mismanagement. The list goes on. Sadly, most big winners run through all of their winnings and file for bankruptcy in just a few years.

Okay, I’m finished being a downer about winning the lottery. Of course, so many positives can come from a situation like this.

Donating a percentage of the winnings would certainly help many organizations in need and reward the giver the satisfaction of being a part of a good deed. Parents could plan to pass down a remaining portion of the money to family, securing their financial future. Most people would probably quit their jobs immediately. Retirement at the age of 35? Yes, please. This would allow time to volunteer and give back, explore the world as you never thought imaginable, try new hobbies, or even take the chance at starting your own business.

I believe it’s human nature to hope, wish and dream about being that big winner. If you are a part of roughly half of the American population who plays the lottery each year and want to be one of the few who wins a sizable prize, the best way is by selecting your own numbers and sticking to them when you play, according to advice from former repeat winners who have shared their advice in books to help others. Some people will scoff about playing the lottery and how they think it’s a waste and say that your odds are too low to win, but you can’t win if you don’t play!

What would you do if you found yourself holding the golden ticket? Let me know in the comments.

Oh, and in case I’ve sparked your desire to watch the now fizzled but once hit game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, you’re in luck. The long-running show airs past and new episodes on the GSN network.

Originally published at