3. Generally, don’t take the lump sum.
Choosing the annuity option distributes the jackpot over 30 payments, which increase by 5% each year to keep up with the cost of living, Lauren Lyons Cole, a certified financial planner, previously explained to Insider.
Choosing the lump sum means taking the entire cash value at once, but it’s less than the value of the total jackpot. The cash payout for Mega Millions is currently $707.9 million, according to USA Today.
While both options yield staggering amounts of money, Lyons Cole advises making the more cautious choice and choosing the annuity.
“Taking the annuity offers a degree of protection against blowing all your money in a short time — or being taken advantage of by a wayward financial adviser, family member, or friend,” she wrote.
If you’re very good with money and have a team of trusted advisers, a lump sum can offer a greater potential for increasing your wealth if you smartly invest your winnings.
“But money is way more than math,” Lyons Cole said. “From an emotional and risk-management perspective, most people will have better long-term success in sustaining their newfound wealth by stretching out the winnings over time.”
And don’t forget: You’ll still have taxes to pay.
Any Mega Millions jackpot winner should be smart about their financial decisions and proceed slowly. The money isn’t going anywhere — unless you spend it all.