RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Friday night Mega Millions jackpot has soared to nearly $1 billion, which could amount to a very large windfall for the lucky winner.
However, lotteries aren’t the only way that people come into large amounts of cash.
Insurance settlements as well as inheritances can also lead to large payouts.
If you find yourself with a big financial windfall, you think this is great — all my money troubles are over. But truth be told, over 70 percent of people who receive a big pile of cash lose it in just a few years.
“Most people file for bankruptcy in 4-5 years after getting a large lump sum of money,” said financial educator and communications director Ajaie Albert of Lotto N Crowd.
The mishandling of a sudden cash influx doesn’t surprise some Raleigh residents.
“They just act on impulse,” said Mike Farly. “They just don’t make wise decisions.”
The lure of big cash creates big dreams for people.
“I’d buy a home and give back to my family, my husband’s family and charities,” said Raleigh resident Keenan Warren.
However, influxes of lots of money could lead to more problems. There are three things that can eat it up quickly are include taxes, debt and inflation.
When you first get your windfall, keep some reserves on hand by setting aside money in a small emergency account.
“That’s for those minor things like your water heater going out, or your car needing maintenance,” said Albert. “You want to do anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 and put it in a bank savings account.”
You should also set aside a larger amount of cash for major emergencies.
“That’s six months or more of your expenses,” he said. “Put that in a high yield or diversified funds account so it can grow while it’s waiting for an emergency.”
Before you even take a dime of the money, know how you will deal with it. Come up with an action plan and practice financial literacy.
“Invest in those people who will help you minimize your taxes, help you eliminate debt and help you restore your credit score,” said Albert.
Those people can be accountants, financial planners or even stockbrokers.
Before you let anyone handle your money, carefully research them and check their reputations. Start online and use multiple sources to vet them.
The worst thing you can do is to hire anyone who’s going to take your newfound money and run.