Powerball windfall: Strategies for the suddenly wealthy

    Financial experts offer critical tips to keep a big win from going bust

    The mere thought of sudden wealth triggers lofty visions. Virtually everyone has a plan.

    But whether it's 1.5 Billion, or several hundred thousand- money experts say the first thing to do- is nothing.

    "Don't quit your job right away." , said Certified Financial Planner Ted White. "Don't go out and make a big purchase right away. Don't alter your lifestyle right away."

    White and his colleagues at Blue Canoe Financial Planning in Seattle are used to helping clients people who come in to big money.

    They say the key to coming out ahead in any big money game is to think like a coach- and assemble a strong team to that has your back.

    "So it would be a three person team." White explained. "You need a CPA or tax professional. You need an estate attorney. You need a Certified Financial Planner. They're going to help you with that planning. They're going to help you with asset protection. They're going to help you with prudent investing."

    Next money experts say protect your anonymity. Remember, once you hit the jackpot - you're a target. When Lisa Quam won 90 million dollars in December of 2014 her name went public. It's part of our state law. In fact, only 5 states allow you to remain anonymous. But you can get around that.

    "It might be beneficial to set up something like an LLC or other type of entity that could accept the lottery winnings on your behalf." said White. "You can create what's known as an artificial entity. A corporation, partnership or trust that can accept the money on your behalf."

    State lottery officials say when you create an artificial entity- people who check public records to find lottery winners will only get the name of the corporation or trust. They also point out that you have 180 days to claim your winnings. That gives you plenty of time to find reputable professionals, set up an artificial entity and come up with a sustainable long-term plan. Financial planners add that you should also take that time to practice saying "No". And, as long as you're speculating about numbers, you might think about getting a new phone number- to keep your phone from ringing off the hook.

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