What Happens If You Win the Lottery Jackpot?

lottery jackpot

If you’ve ever dreamed of winning the lottery, you’re not alone. But there’s more to the lottery than just numbers, and defying the odds of success takes the right mindset, strategy and a sprinkle of luck.

For example, if you win the jackpot, you can choose between an annuity that would pay out annual payments over 29 years or a lump sum of cash. The annuity option yields a smaller payout, because it factors in the interest you’d make over those 29 years. That’s why the advertised jackpot for Friday’s drawing was larger than it would have been if it had been paid out in cash.

Another factor is that the IRS withholds 24% of your prize off the top if you opt for an annuity payout. That amount will vary depending on how much you win, but the top tax bracket for single filers is 37% this year. And if you’re a joint filer, it’s up to 69%.

Another big factor is the amount of public disclosure required by your state. Some states require that winners be publicly identified, while others have laws allowing winners to remain anonymous. In either case, a winner should consider hiring a team of professionals to help them with the myriad decisions they’ll face after winning the jackpot. These experts might include an attorney, accountant and financial planner. They can also help winners weigh their options for receiving the winnings (annuity vs. lump sum). Most lottery winners choose the lump sum option because they figure they can invest that money and do better than the approximate 5-percent interest that the annuity would provide over the long run.