Wednesday, some lucky Queens, New York resident won a staggering $133 million in the Mega Millions state lottery. And since I live in Queens, I was pretty pissed off it wasn’t me. Then I made myself feel better by remembering that most people who win the lottery have their lives ruined by the money. But that got me thinking, what exactly are you supposed to do, if you miraculously win, to keep it from ruining you life? (Surprisingly, “hookers and coke” is not the right answer.)
After a little research, I’ve come up with a few quick tips for how to conduct yourself after becoming richer than your wildest dreams.
1. Don’t freak out: OK, freak out. But when you’re done freaking out, take a deep breath and give yourself a minute to let the news settle in. Your life has just completely changed. After all, everything – I mean everything – is now different. Sorry, that’s probably just making you freak out more…
2. Tell no one: Don’t tell your wife or girlfriend, your kids, your neighbor, your weed dealer, anybody who’s personally related to you until you’ve got your sh*t in order. Money changes people, and that’s only a good thing when it’s your money. So be careful.
3. Make copies of your ticket: You will need these copies for claiming the money. But don’t go to Kinkos. If you don’t have a scanner or a copy machine in you house, you should be able to make copies at the bank, where you should…
4. Put the ticket in a safe deposit box: Keeping tabs of that ticket is going to be your primary concern until you’re done filing for the money. But ignore the need to keep it on your person – that kind of thing can drive a person mad. Instead, put it in a safe deposit box where it’s sure to stay put.
5. Keep quiet: Most people wait between two to 14 days to claim their ticket, and waiting is definitely the best bet. This will give you that minute to stop freaking out and proceed with a cool head.
6. Hire a bunch of people: While you shouldn’t tell anyone you know personally about your winnings, you will have to tell some money professionals. Since you now have assets out the ass, you can hire everyone you need to hire to make sure your money is safe and sound. These people should include a lawyer, who can help you put your ticket into a limited liability corporation or partnership or a blind trust, which will help with your liability, the tax stuff and keeping your identity more obscure.
Also hire a fee-based financial adviser (rather than a commission-based adviser, who will rape you), to help you decide where to put your money when it first arrives, and… a bus-load of strippers. (Ok, that last one is a bad idea.)
7. Claim Your Winnings: Don’t call – go to your state’s lottery office with you ticket and your copies and every form of ID you have. Try to not sh*t your pants with excitement.
8. Buy a house overseas and go there: Once you’ve filed with the lottery commission, you will receive a promissory note, which is proof that you have a butt-load of cash coming your way. This promissory note is now an asset. With it, you can now get an American Express Platinum or Black card, which can be used to buy property. Find a place some place overseas where you’d like to relax, gather up your family or whoever you want to take with you and go there. Stay until the news of your winnings has blown over and you can return home without being bombarded by every asshole imaginable.
9. Do anything you want: What? You’re rich, biotch!