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Lottery Pitfalls: What Not To Do If You Win

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's a game many of you may be playing in your heads right now, fantasy lottery.

(SOUNDBITE OF POWERBALL AD)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Across the country, it's time for America's favorite jackpot game. Get ready everybody. This is Powerball.

CORNISH: Oh, think what you could do with $800 million after taxes. The Powerball jackpot has been climbing rapidly since there were no winners Wednesday night.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The next drawing is tomorrow so dream on, tiny dancer. Just realize your odds are miniscule. We're talking 1 in 292 million.

CORNISH: But wait. Let's say you do get lucky. Along with screaming your head off and, you know, hyperventilating, what else should you do?

MCEVERS: Jon Ogg of 247wallst.com has some practical advice.

JON C. OGG: If you drive a 10-year-old car, why would you not go buy a new car? If you have a mortgage on your house, why not, at a minimum, would you not at least pay off your mortgage? But the idea is to not go crazy, as they would say.

CORNISH: And what does crazy look like with, say, $800 million?

OGG: You can go buy a 150-foot yacht, a private business jet and you can also go out and buy your own private island.

MCEVERS: But before you do that, think it through. There are always hidden costs.

OGG: Think about all of the service staff that you have to have. Most people that buy those mega yachts, they're not cleaning it themselves, they're not filling up the gas themselves.

CORNISH: And you're not going to fill it up or clean it either - let's be honest.

MCEVERS: Jon Ogg says get real about something else. You need to protect your mega millions from you. That means getting a good, solid financial advisor.

OGG: You know absolutely, positively that that money's not going to disappear on you.

CORNISH: To review - step one, win $800 million.

MCEVERS: Check.

CORNISH: Step two, don't go crazy with it. And step three, get a trusted money manager and listen to that person.

MCEVERS: And if you do blow it all, don't come crying to Jon Ogg.

OGG: I'm sorry to say it, but you do deserve to be the laughingstock of every party that you go to. It's pretty hard to explain that one away. You can't say, well, that one just sort of got away from me. Maybe I'll win again.

MCEVERS: Got it? Good.

CORNISH: The next drawing for Powerball, now with an $800 million jackpot, is tomorrow night.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET'S GO CRAZY")

PRINCE: (Singing) Let's go crazy. Let's get nuts. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.