Powerball and Mega Millions have both passed $400 million — here are the first 2 things the winners should do

  • The Powerball and Mega Millions lottery jackpots are over $400 million each.
  • After raking in millions of dollars, winners should fight the urge to immediately tell everyone they know.
  • The winners should also consult a trusted financial planner and lawyer before claiming the prize.

Nearly $1 billion is up for grabs.

The Mega Millions jackpot climbed to $418 million, and the Powerball lottery has an unclaimed pool of $460 million as of Wednesday morning. Both lotteries are available for residents of 44 states and Washington D.C.

A Powerball winner — or winners — may be selected Wednesday night, and the next drawing for Mega Millions will take place Friday night.

Powerball winner Mavis Wanczyk of Massachusetts:

10 PHOTOS
Powerball winner Mavis Wanczyk of Massachusetts
See Gallery
Powerball winner Mavis Wanczyk of Massachusetts
BRAINTREE, MA - AUGUST 24: Winner of the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot Mavis L. Wanczyk, right, poses for a photo with Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, left, in Braintree, Mass., Aug. 24, 2017. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BRAINTREE, MA - AUGUST 24: Mavis L. Wanczyk is announced as the winner of the $758.7 Million Powerball Jackpot in Braintree, Mass., Aug. 24, 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BRAINTREE, MA - AUGUST 24: Mavis L. Wanczyk is announced as the winner of the $758.7 Million Powerball Jackpot in Braintree, Mass., Aug. 24, 2017. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BRAINTREE, MA - AUGUST 24: Winner of the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot Mavis L. Wanczyk, left, poses for a photo with Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, right, in Braintree, Mass., Aug. 24, 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BRAINTREE, MA - AUGUST 24: Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, left, holds the hand of the winner of the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot Mavis L. Wanczyk, right, in Braintree, Mass., Aug. 24, 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BRAINTREE, MA - AUGUST 24: Mavis L. Wanczyk, left, is announced as the winner of the $758.7 Million Powerball Jackpot in Braintree, Mass., Aug. 24, 2017. Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is at right. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
53 year old Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee won the $758.7 million Powerball drawing. She quit her job this morning. 💰… https://t.co/2r4uXxJYtJ
Mavis Wanczyk chose birthdays and lucky Keno # 4 as her winning #Powerball. Shown here with Treasurer Deb Goldberg https://t.co/w8kI7BENxI
Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee --winner of last night's Powerball Jackpot--worked for Mercy Health. Today she told them… https://t.co/ISlHdz3rg2
Mavis Wanczyk's reaction to learning she won $758M Powerball jackpot: "Are you joking? Come on, please." #Chicopee… https://t.co/4aJUdMm4b2
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The math suggests you shouldn't play the lottery, as Business Insider's Andy Kiersz has shown, but millions of people do anyway — especially when the potential winnings swell.

If you decide to try your luck, make sure you know what to do in case you land the big prize.

Keep the win a secret

You just won millions of dollars — and you want to scream it from the mountain tops.

Don't.

"Once you're announced as the winner, the sharks will start circling," Kristen Euretig, financial planner and founder of Brooklyn Plans, told Business Insider.

Only six states allow the winners of the lottery to keep their identity private, but there are ways to make sure your ownership of the jackpot isn't public.

Your jackpot win is on a need-to-know basis, and your second cousins and coworker's roommate don't need to know. As soon as they find out, everyone you know could be asking for a slice of the pie.

Announcing your big win on social media can have serious consequences as soon as every person you went to high school with suddenly wants to chat. Even if you are a person who loves helping others, it is foolish to hand money to any person who asks.

If you end up sharing your winnings with every acquaintance and old classmate, your earnings can really start to suffer and the victory could become less glamorous.

Find professional help

Next, hire professional help. Far too often, big time lottery winners don't know how to handle their newfound wealth and squander it away.

Euretig said winners shouldn't "get too many designs about your next moves until you can work with a financial planner who will assemble your team of experts to best advise you on your options."

A financial planner can help you decide whether to take the lump sum or annuity payments. They can also help you plan your spending and make plausible decisions, like investing and saving for retirement.

"It may seem like you have an infinite amount of money to work with, but before you understand the tax implications and options, it's best to hold tight," Euretig said.

In addition to a financial planner, a lawyer would be a good person to have on your team to help with legal problems that may arise from winning the lottery.

Right now, hiring a lawyer and financial planner may sound expensive, but after winning a fortune of almost half a billion dollars, consulting fees are a small price to pay for security and peace of mind.

NOW WATCH: 4 lottery winners who lost it all

See Also:

SEE ALSO: If you win the Powerball lottery, don't take the payment in a lump sum

DON'T MISS: Here's why millennials need to inherit rather than earn their wealth

Read Full Story