If I had a billion dollars: What experts say you should do first if you win the Mega Millions

Many lottery ticket holders are already planning how to spend that first million of the $1.28 billion Mega Millions jackpot up for grabs tonight.


Channel 9 went to an expert to find out what you should do first if you are the lucky winner. One said to hold on to that money if you get it.

“First thing you should do is absolutely nothing,” said Craig Kirsner with Stewart Estate Planning. “First thing, go out and get an amazing CPA and tax accountant so that before you even go in and claim your winnings, you’re prepared.”

READ: Mega jackpot: What you should do if you win lottery jackpot, can you stay anonymous

Kirsner said you should think about a certain amount you’re OK with giving away before the requests start coming in.

“You might get exploited, even by your own family members who come to you knowing you have wealth for a piece of the pie,” Kirsner said.

Kirsner said you’ll be tempted with impulse purchases. He said you can increase your lifestyle, pay off your debts and enjoy your winnings, but don’t spend more than you can afford long term.

READ: Mega Millions: Jackpot now sits at $1.28 billion for Friday’s drawing

Kirsner said that 70% of lottery winners end up losing all their money.

If you win, you have the choice of taking annual payments over 30 years or a lump sum.

READ: With more than a billion dollars up for grabs, Central Floridians try their luck

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