Powerball: What should you do if you win?

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – So let’s say you beat the odds and become a billionaire tonight.

What’s the first thing you should do?

Call 6 News so we can have your “exclusive interview.”

But then what?

You’ll have some big decisions to make.

So we asked our Joe Gebhardt to find you some expert advice.

6 News spoke to financial expert Joe Smalley Wednesday and he has some advice if you become the lucky winner of a cool $1.5 billion.

So, as the clock ticks ever so closer to 11 p.m. if you are the one with all the matching numbers, how do you make your new found riches last?

$1.5 billion, the odds of winning it are actually lower than the total jackpot at 1 in 292 million.

In its 23 year history, the Powerball jackpot has never been this high. If you win, what can you do to protect yourself?

“Call an accountant. The second thing, contact a financial advisor. Putting together a financial plan to make sure that they don’t spend all the money their lifetime is a really good idea. Invest the money for the long-term. They can pay off their debt. They can make sure that their kids go to college, all the big things,” said Joe Smalley, president, Smalley Investments.

There are two options, either lump sum or annual payments but either way the money you get won’t be as much as the headlined $1.5 billion.

After taxes in Michigan out of that $1.5 billion you would walk away with approximately $522, or about one third of the jackpot.

“Well I think anybody winning $500 million or more would be very pleased with that. but taxes are the biggest concern. So, the very first thing that someone should do if they win is to contact an accountant. Make sure they figure out the tax situation for their specific deal. And this is going to be a big deal, so they’re going to want to make sure that that’s the first call.”

Becoming a multi-millionaire will put the spotlight directly on you and your newfound wealth.

“You’re going to become umm very popular. Uhh, people will contact you for all sorts of donations and gifts. But, at the same time I think with the right support, this can be managed well.”

Smalley also recommends purchasing diversified portfolios of multiple investments in stocks and bonds so the money can provide an income.

If you have yet to purchase a Powerball ticket, the deadline to pick your numbers is right before 10 p.m.

We welcome thoughts and comments from our viewers. We ask that everyone keep their remarks civil and respectful. Postings that contain profanity, racist, or potentially libelous remarks will be deleted. We will delete any commercial postings, as well.

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