Things to Keep in Mind Before You Buy a Lottery Jackpot

lottery jackpot

When you see a lottery jackpot reaching mind-boggling numbers, you may be tempted to buy a ticket. After all, it’s the ultimate risk-to-reward ratio: you could win a huge sum for a relatively small investment. But before you purchase your ticket, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

The big reason lottery jackpots grow to such apparently newsworthy amounts is that they drive sales and earn the game a windfall of free publicity on news websites and TV shows. It’s also worth remembering that you’re just as likely to get struck by lightning or be attacked by a shark as you are to hit the jackpot, according to experts.

Most people who play the lottery do so as an inexpensive form of entertainment. But a regular habit can quickly add up to thousands of dollars in foregone savings that could have gone toward retirement or college tuition. In addition, many lottery winners are not financially responsible and end up blowing their winnings on bad investments or extravagant lifestyles.

Lottery winners have the option to take their winnings in an annuity payment that will be paid out over years or as a lump sum. Advertised jackpots are calculated as the total of these payments, which include interest. If you’re lucky enough to hit the jackpot, it’s important to know the difference between annuity and lump sum payouts so that you can plan for your future.

If you do win the lottery, consider working with a qualified financial planner to set up a sustainable retirement fund. This way, you’ll have the funds you need to live comfortably for the rest of your life.