On Wednesday night, a Powerball prize drawing took place, and one lucky person beat the 1-in-292-million odds and found themselves $700 million richer. Mavis Wanczyk, 53, of Chicopee, Massachusetts, had the lucky ticket. As one of Wanczyk’s first actions as a multi-millionaire, she quit her job, telling her employer, Mercy Medical Center, that she wouldn’t be coming back.
Mavis Wanczyk talks about her emotions from last night to now after winning the $758M Powerball jackpot. pic.twitter.com/38ce5w575y
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) August 24, 2017
The lottery prize was the second-largest jackpot in Powerball history —and if no one had won, the jackpot would have been $1 billion by Saturday. That would’ve been the biggest amount in lottery history. In 2015, a rule change increased the possible numbers players can pick from, and since then, the difficulty of winning has increased along with the game’s purse sizes.
$700 million dollars is around $293 million after taxes. It’s an incredible amount of money most of us can only dream of having. You may suddenly be rich enough to make it rain dollars and buy that house or that island, and never lift a hand again to work again. Wanczyk chose to quit her job right away—but should you?
Don’t do anything rash
Your impulse after winning the lottery may be to toss your spreadsheets in the air, and walk out of your office in dramatic fashion, but what most lottery experts agree is that winners shouldn’t make any rash decisions. Winning such a large amount of money can be a stressful, overwhelming situation where you act on impulses, instead of acting with your head.
“One thing I would tell people not to do is make rash decisions like quitting your job, going and buying a new house or a bunch of debt obligations,” John Mabary, a Sherman financial advisor, said. “There’s going to be plenty of time for that and think through what you want to spend money on.”
Not quitting right away also helps protect your privacy and not raise any suspicions about your sudden wealth. Once people know you’ve won a million-dollar lottery, family, friends, and strangers will come out of nowhere asking for their cut. Too many lottery winners have met tragic fates after they were taken advantage of, and in some extreme cases, even murdered, for winning a lottery.
To avoid these endings, money experts advise hiring a financial advisor immediately and keeping the number of people who know you won very small. The Sudden Money Institute advises keeping the circle of people who know very low: just one person.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban even advises Powerball winners to hire a tax attorney first before doing anything else or talking to anyone you know.
Not quitting your job not only helps you fly under the radar as you plan your future cabana-filled getaway in peace, but you may also discover that you don’t want to quit working. Sitting on the beach is fun for a while, but it isn’t enough to keep most people going. A 2014 CareerBuilder survey found that 51% of us would want to continue working even if we won the lottery. The majority of people surveyed said they would be “bored” if they didn’t work and that working gave them a “sense of purpose and accomplishment.”
That makes sense. As we know, we spend one-third of our lives working. Work is a key part of our identities, giving us purpose, meaning and structure to our days.
As Cuban advises, winning a lottery gives you financial security, but it won’t give you everything: “If you weren’t happy yesterday you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness.”