Who doesn't fantasize about winning the Powerball, despite the odds? Even if they are an incomprehensible 292 million to one, a $2 investment is a cheap way to dream of a life free from ever having to worry about money again.
Or is it? Do anyone else's lottery jackpot daydreams sometimes turn into dread? "OMG, what if I win?" A feeling of euphoria turns into "The Scream" face as I imagine friendships and family relationships becoming strained and being hounded constantly by requests for money.
It happens all the time. Check out a search online for "what lottery winners won't tell you" and some interesting cautionary tales come up. Things like exploited by your friends, being shunned by the wealthy who earned or inherited their money, and being forced into the spotlight.
And those are tips from winners who still have money. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 70 percent of people who have unexpectedly come into large sums of money end up broke within seven years.
Don't let that be you. Here are some tips if you're a big winner tonight.
Minnesota is not one of the six states where a lottery winner can choose to remain anonymous. The winner's name, city of residence and prize amount will be made public. But here's a thought for the shy person who prefers to remain anonymous. Send a lawyer in your place so your face won't be as familiar as a Kardashian's.
Not everyone agrees with my strategy. Don Feeney, research and planning director at the Minnesota State Lottery, believes it's better to show your face and get it over with." Otherwise you'll have people like you [reporters, gold diggers] hunting them down like dogs," he said. Touche, Mr. Feeney.
That makes me wish I had bought my ticket in North Dakota, or Delaware, Maryland, Ohio or South Carolina, where I can remain anonymous if I win.
If remaining anonymous isn't a possibility, first sign the back of your ticket before anyone else can. See a tax pro before you cash the ticket, preferably someone you know, assemble a team of legal and financial advisors, and give smaller, regular charitable gifts rather than big lump sums. That allows you to keep tabs on the recipient.
Think I'm crazy that anyone should be worried about winning the lottery? Then take it from Sandra Hayes of Missouri who won $6 million after taxes in 2006 and wrote a short book, "How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life."
"if somebody wins, God bless them," she said. "They're going to need those blessings."