Shut up if you win $1.1B Mega Millions jackpot, advisor says
With the annuity value of the Mega Millions jackpot at over $1 billion for Friday night's drawing a new multi-millionaire is about to be minted.
The Mega Millions jackpot has not been won for 29 drawings since April. The Mega Millions jackpot will have an annuity value of $1.1 billion ($648.2 million in cash) for its next drawing on Friday, July 28, the fourth largest multi-state lottery jackpot ever offered. The largest is the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot won on Jan. 13, 2016, on three tickets sold in California, Florida and Tennesse.
The free advice from financial planner Lou Scatigna, with AFM Investments of Toms River, is for the winners to keep the news to themselves. No matter the amount of the jackpot, the rules are the same for such a life-changing event, he said.
"The first thing you need to do is shut up," Scatigna told New Jersey 101.5.
"You can't let people know your fortune. A lot of times you'll see people on TV three days after they win. That's probably the biggest mistake you can make because you're not mentally prepared for the onslaught of press you're going to get as well as people who want to take advantage of your fortune."
Resisting the call of the media
New Jersey law allows lottery winners to stay anonymous. Two Powerball jackpot winners in 2021 chose that path.
But Scatigna said there are people who can't resist their moment in the spotlight.
"People with fragile egos and so forth, they want to be on TV. They want everyone to know how rich they are all of a sudden and that's a mistake because the less people that know the better in almost every situation," Scatigna said.
The spotlight will also bring unwanted calls from financial advisors, people looking for investors in their business, stock brokers and lawyers all looking for your money.
"The key here is to surround yourself with a great accountant, a great financial planner and a great lawyer that have experience with things like this to make sure you're counseled properly and you don't do anything without vetting it through your personal committee," Scatigna said.
The New Jersey Lottery advises winners to sign their winning ticket, put it in a secure place and make an appointment to bring the ticket to lottery headquarters in Mercer County.
Lou Scatigna hosts "The Financial Physician" program Sunday 6 a.m. - 8 a.m. on WOBM-FM, which like New Jersey 101.5 is owned by Townsquare Media.