If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably played the lottery at some point in your life. Maybe you’re a sucker for $1 scratch-off tickets, or maybe you diligently play your lucky numbers in the Powerball Jackpot. Whatever your preferred method of playing may be, there’s one goal: to win.

As many lottery winners have discovered, it could actually be somewhat stressful to win the lottery. The main concern you’ll probably have is finding out how to get cash for lottery winnings. There are many steps involved in finding out if you’ve actually won, as well as finally being able to cash that sweet, sweet six-figure check.

Here’s what to do after finding out that you’ve just won the lottery:

Stay quiet

Some states don’t allow lottery winners to stay anonymous, so it might not be possible to keep your winning ticket a total secret. However, try not to share your news with everyone you know, because you’ll find that you have a lot more “friends” than you realized, and these “friends” also happen to be people who could use a small loan from a smart person. Even if you trust that your friends and family don’t want to get in on your new wealth, other not-so-friendly people may have more of an intent to get cash for lottery winnings that are stored in your bank account or kitchen cabinet.

Weigh your payment options carefully

When you win a big prize through the lottery, you have two options for how you want to receive that money:

  • In a lump sum, which is one payment given to you immediately
  • In a lottery annuity, which is a payment plan where you receive smaller installments on a yearly basis.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options, but the best way to figure out which one is right for you is to consult with a financial adviser and to take a look at how you’ve managed money in the past.

Understand that you won’t get the full amount of money you won. (This is one of the most frustrating parts about winning the lottery because you won’t find out that the money can and will be subject to a slew of taxes and fees, until after you’ve won.) Most people end up choosing a lottery annuity rather than a lump sum because the government taxes placed on them are slightly less. Either way, you won’t be taking all of it home.

Plan out what you want to do and try to stick to a budget. It’s perfectly okay to splurge on yourself after winning the lottery. Remember that it’s your money and you get to decide what you want to do with it. Maybe you want to go back to college, or maybe you’ll want move to a tropical location where you’ll never see snow again. Maybe you have a lot of debts to pay off, or maybe you know someone else who could really use some help. The choice is yours. Just try to keep in mind that the money won’t last forever, so it’s better to make smart investments, even if they’re big ones rather than spend small amounts of money without even thinking about it.

Don’t beat yourself up if you realize you should have chosen another payment option or should have saved more. It’s not as though you’ve taken a course on how to handle your finances after you get cash for lottery winnings (unless you happen to be a very lucky person that has won the lottery more than once). It’s okay if need to turn to a financial management service for help, or even a company like 123 Lump Sum, which can help you get back on your feet if you’re struggling to manage a lottery annuity.

Winning the lottery can definitely be a great chance to make some positive changes in your life; you might not be able to buy happiness, but you can buy opportunities that will allow you to grow and learn. When you work with 123 Lump Sum, you’ll be able to get cash for lottery winnings right when you need it, through a process which is safe, legal, and ensures that you get the most amount of money you can.

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