"Shark Tank" sharks Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O'Leary have very specific advice for the person (or persons) who will walk away with $1.5 billion from tonight's Powerball jackpot drawing.
"You don’t spend a dime when you win this," O'Leary said today on "Good Morning America."
Though O'Leary, chairman of O'Shares ETF, and Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, are often at odds on "Shark Tank," the pair agreed that the smartest course for a newly-minted billionaire is to hold their money close.
Corcoran spoke from experience. She became a multi-millionaire overnight when she sold her real estate business for $66 million in 2001. Corcoran said she paid taxes on the money immediately and then put the remainder, $44 million, in a checking account.
"What it gave me was breathing space," Corcoran said on "GMA." "It gave me time to really assess what I wanted to do with the money and to spend it and invest it wisely. You’ve got to wait and take a breath and do something smart."
The Powerball jackpot grew to $1.5 billion after no one matched all six Powerball numbers in last Saturday night's drawing. The prize could continue to grow before tonight's drawing if strong Powerball ticket sales continue.
"Let’s assume it’s $1.6 billion by tonight,” O’Leary said of the jackpot. “To take all of the money today, you only get $800 million. After you pay your tax, you’re left with about $400 million. If you’re wise about this, you’ll take it and put it into three or four large financial institutions.”
"Here’s the kicker. If you invest in government bonds, which are assumed risk-free, and a few triple-A credits from corporations, you’ll make about four percent a month. That’s $600,000 a month after tax for the rest of your life," O'Leary continued. "The key is, do not spend the principle. Don’t let anybody tell you they need a check from you. Just put it in a bank and don’t spend anything until the first $600,000 comes in."
The two financial gurus have different advice when it comes to dealing with friends and family.
O'Leary advises responding directly to family members' requests, but setting a firm limit.
"When a family member comes, and after the first month’s $600,000 comes in, you say to them, ‘I am happy to give you money. It’s not going to be a loan. It’s a gift, but never, ever ask me again.’ That’s the key because families will keep coming," O'Leary said. "Give everybody a piece when you decide, off the first month’s principle, but never, ever again."
Corcoran countered that, based on her own experience, lottery winners should send family members' requests to a third party.
“What I would do is I would put my accountant in the position of being a bad guy and saying no,” Corcoran said. “With every $10,000 problem that people came to me with, I said, ‘Hey, if it’s okay with my accountant it’s okay with me. Here’s his phone number.’"
"He became the bad guy," she said. "Everybody still liked me and I at least kept the money in my pocket and gave it to who I wanted.”
The odds of matching all six numbers to win tonight's Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Powerball website.