Mega Millions Lottery Hits $400 Million: What to Do (and Not to Do) If You Win

24/7 Wall St.

The U.S. Mega Millions lottery jackpot just got even larger. The prior $344 million has grown to a whopping $400 million, what appears to be the second largest jackpot ever for this lotto. Friday the 13th will no longer be considered unlucky if a winner lands on the right lotto numbers, because that is the date of the drawing.

What is amazing is that the big part of the jackpot has now rolled 20 times without a winner. With no jackpot winners on Tuesday night, the pot went up to $400 million from $344 million. The winner will have the choice of receiving the full jackpot in 30 annual payments (close to $13.3 million per year, on average), or can choose the all-cash option valued at roughly $216.4 million before taxes.

ALSO READ: What to Do (and Not Do) If You Win the Lottery

As this is empire-building money, 24/7 Wall St. wants to alert its readers about the pitfalls of winning and what they should (and should not do) if they happen to be lucky enough to win. Yes, there are unfortunately some pitfalls. Can you imagine winning this money and then ending up bankrupt in a few short years? It happens to many lottery winners.

The Mega Millions lotto said that that the Tuesday drawing had some prizes won by more than 5 million tickets. This includes five tickets that matched the first five numbers to each win $1 million.

The Mega Millions website said:

This is the largest jackpot since changes were made to Mega Millions that include larger starting jackpots, a million-dollar second prize, and a new matrix of 1-75 for the first five numbers and 1-15 for the Mega Ball number. One thing that did not change is the price of a Mega Millions ticket: still $1. The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately one in 259 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 15. Mega Millions holds the record for the largest jackpot ever, at $656 million. That jackpot on March 30, 2012, was split by three winning tickets in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.

Again, it is imperative that lottery winners take action. Our own 12-step program for lotto winners is intended as a first-step guide on how to protect you and your new empire-making money. It includes the obvious issues, but it goes into evaluating what to do for tax purposes and financial and personal security, what not go splurge on, and many other things.

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