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What to Do If You Win the Lottery

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Have you ever thought about winning the lottery? I don’t mean the weird gonzo shit you’d do, like hire a marching band to follow you everywhere playing Rock’n Roll part 2 while you strut down the street (tell me that doesn’t sound awesome). I mean the actual mechanics of how to claim it and protect yourself from all vulturous fuckery that will come your way. Whoa…you totally haven’t thought about that have you?

Well luckily some people have which is why I’m cutting and pasting this shit from this Time Magazine article. Read below on what to do if you win the the Powerball tonight. And if you do win, please consider donating a fuck ton of money to so we can expand this magic all over the world.

Sign the back of the winning ticket

If you don’t establish ownership, anyone can claim your prize and you can kiss your dreams of becoming an instant millionaire goodbye, lottery experts say. The winning ticket is considered a bearer instrument, which means the lottery will pay whoever presents it with a signature and valid photo identification, according to Van Denton, a spokesman for the North Carolina Education Lottery. “The worse thing for someone is to have such great luck to win this jackpot and then to lose the ticket and have it stolen,” Denton told TIME.

Put it in a safe place

Safety deposit boxes or banks are considered safe places, Denton said. “If you don’t have one, you can now afford one,” he said. “I would certainly do that.” Don’t leave the ticket in your car and stay away from storing it inside your house, Denton added.

Hire a lawyer and a financial advisor

It’s overwhelming to suddenly stumble upon such a large amount of money. The smart thing to do is consult with legal and financial experts who are experienced in dealing with unexpected windfalls, such as inheritances from wills or lottery earnings. “Take some time and don’t rush into everything,” said Jeff Holyfield, a spokesman for the Michigan Lottery. “The worst thing that a big winner could do is not sit down, take a deep breath and start making some plans, doing some research.”

Get the rundown from your state lottery office

Most state lotteries will advise big winners and work with them when it comes to handling payment options and speaking at press conferences. “When we talk to these big winners, it’s not just one conversation. It’s a series of conversations,” Holyfield said. “It’s a life-changing amount of money. At that point, all the wheels start turning in your mind. It’s the sun, the moon and the stars dumped on their laps. Until they get here, they’ll keep saying, ‘I don’t believe it.’”

Don’t announce it on social media until you claim your prize

It’s tempting to share the exciting news with friends on Facebook and Twitter, but experts advise holding off until you have assessed the entire situation. “I wouldn’t announce it until after you’ve claimed your prize,” Denton said. “Until you bring the ticket to whatever state lottery office that has the jackpot winner, you’re carrying a $500 million asset, and you don’t want that asset to be lost or stolen.” The timeframe that big winners have to claim their prize varies from state to state. People have 180 days in North Carolina to claim it, while Michigan residents have up to a year. Experts also note that winners may not have the option to remain anonymous in some states.


When all your ducks are finally in a row, you can get fully excited. The grand prize is the sixth-largest in the history of multistate big-game jackpots, according to The lump sum cash payout is about $306 million, Denton said, and the $500 million annuity promises payments for about 30 years. The first check would be for about $10.2 million and the final payment would be about over $41.8 million, Holyfield said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Have some fun with it,” he said. Set up your financial plan first and “then go out and do what millionaires do,” he added.

Powerball is played in 44 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Last February, Marie Holmes, a North Carolina mother of four, claimed a $188 million Powerball prize. And Julie Leach, a 50-year-old grandmother from Three Rivers in southwestern Michigan, last fall won a $310.5 million Powerball jackpot, the Michigan Lottery said.

“The odds are one in 292.2 million, but go to talk to Julie Leach in Three Rivers. It happens,” Holyfield said. “You never know.”

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.