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Expert’s Advice To Next Big Lottery Winner: Take Your Time

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(Geraldine Williams of Lowell, Mass. won $294 million in the Mega Millions lottery in 2004.  Credit: Darren McCollester/ Getty Images)

(Geraldine Williams of Lowell, Mass. won $294 million in the Mega Millions lottery in 2004. Credit: Darren McCollester/ Getty Images)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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By David Madden

WAYNE, Pa. (CBS) — With the Mega Millions lottery jackpot in record territory (see related story), what should you do if you hit it?

Chip Addis is president of Addis & Hill, a financial advice firm based in Wayne, Pa.   The first question is, should you take the annuity or the lump-sum cash payment (which is usually about 55 percent of that big number)?

addis chip Experts Advice To Next Big Lottery Winner:  Take Your Time

(Chip Addis. Photo provided)

The answer from Addis: it depends.

“Each circumstance is quite different, and it’s important to look at the overall situation for an individual before you might decide that,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

So, he advises, first get yourself a lawyer, and second a financial advisor who works for you and not his or her own interests.

Most important, Addis recommends, is to set yourself up in what he calls a “decision-free zone.”  That kind of money, he warns, puts a lot of pressure on you to start doing things that you might later regret.  Give yourself some time — maybe a few months — to set parameters on your future.

“You essentially want to come up with some guidelines for yourself. You don’t want to give up control.  You want to make up a list of necessary decisions and keep a lot of unnecessary decisions on the back burner.”

Review your overall strategy about once a year.   After all, you want to control the money, not let the money control you.

And you thought this would be easy!

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