7 things to do if you win big in the lottery

Here a few tips to avoid blowing your winnings

Many American dream of winning the big in the lottery, but Sandy Pierce, a certified financial planner, investment manager and certified public accountant at Parker, Carlson & Johnson in Dayton, said that dream can become a nightmare.

“A lot of times (winners) blow through the money too fast without sitting back and thinking about what they want to do,” she said.

Pierce urges lottery winners and other who suddenly acquire large sums of money to pump the figurative brakes and take things slowly.

“Make a list of what you want to do with the money before you go out and buy that $60,000 car and pay off your house and have nothing to live on,” she said.”We want it to be a good thing and not a bad thing.”

Below are seven tips from Pierce and Danielle Frizzi-Babb, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Lottery:

Understand the Rules

The Ohio Lottery’s website has information about the process to claim prize under a tab that says “Claiming.” Read the instructions carefully.

Those who win more than $5,000 must contact a regional lottery office to make arrangements to claim the prize.

The Dayton office is located at 7462 Webster St. The number is (800) 589-6463.

Take your time

Frizzi-Babb says winners need a valid photo ID and have 180 days from the drawing or game closing date for instant tickets to claim the prize.

“There is a lot to think about before you run into our office and claim your prize,” she said.

Surround yourself with knowledgeable people

Pierce urged winners to seek advice from a trustworthy attorney or/and financial planner as soon as possible. A professional can also help keep crooks and unscrupulous investment companies at bay.

Protect yourself

Sign the back of the ticket and keep it somewhere safe until the prize is claimed, Frizzi said. Keep the ticket dry and away from heat and prolonged direct sunlight.

Decide how you are going to claim the prize

Winners can claim the prize publicly or keep their identities concealed through a blind trust set up with the help of an attorney. You can collect the money and remain anonymous.

Frizzi-Babb said the Ohio Lottery loves to share winners’ stories, but some winners want to stay out of the limelight.

Keep you job

Many winners make rash decisions like quitting their jobs. Pierce said winners should look at their financial situation and consider long- and short-term goals before taking such actions.

“It’s really tempting to start making major changes in your life,” she said.

Pick an option

While the lump sum might be tempting, Pierce said it may be better to take money over time.

“A lot of people take it all at once and it is gone pretty fast,” she said.

Avoid the handouts

It is nice to give money to friends, family members and charities, but Pierce said those decisions should not be made hastily.

A winner could end up with nothing if he or she gives it all away without thinking.

Contact this columnist at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth

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