Feeling lucky? Powerball jackpot swells to $286M for Saturday’s drawing

There was no jackpot winner in Wednesday’s multi-state Powerball
drawing which will push the jackpot up to $286 million for Saturday
night’s drawing.

  • Powerball jackpot at $286 million
  • Top prize odds: 1
    in 292.2 million
  • Drawings each Wednesday and Saturday at
    10:12 p.m. (CT)
  • Check Your Numbers: Lottery

The numbers drawn Wednesday were 1, 16, 54, 63, 69, and the
Powerball number was 18.

The chances of winning the big prize are about 1 in 292.2 million,
according to the Powerball website.

If that doesn’t discourage you, make sure to buy your ticket before
the 10 p.m. (CT) cutoff time.  

Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin
Islands and Puerto Rico.

Whoever wins that money can take it in a lump sum cash payment or
choose to have it paid out over 29 years.

The lump sum payment after taxes is an estimated $178 million.

— What to Do First if You Win a Big Lottery Jackpot —

Playing the lottery lets us dream big, but the reality is, if you
win, you’ll be facing some big changes and big decisions — which is
why International Business Times Personal Finance Editor Lauren Lyons
Cole says don’t rush into anything until you understand your options.

“This is the sort of thing where you want to not just sleep on
it for one night but sleep on it for as many nights as you need to
before you make any financial decisions,” Lyons Cole said.

With the Powerball, you actually have 60 days to decide how to
collect your prize.

A majority of winners take the cash payment where you get a lump sum
up front, although that number is actually less than the full jackpot amount.

Roughly half will then go to Uncle Sam, leaving you with what’s
still an enormous amount of money that may be tricky to hold on to.

“If you’re not used to having that much money, it’s very easy
to spend through it quickly,” Lyons Cole said. “It’s easy to
be taken advantage of by financial advisors who might be interested in
exploiting your winnings. So it’s important to educate yourself. No
one cares more about your money than you do.”

For her money, Lyons Cole puts more stock in the annuity option,
which spreads your winnings over 30 years.

“Whether you are coming into tens of millions of dollars or
hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s a huge change to your financial
situation and it’s going to take time to understand how to best manage
that money,” Lyons Cole says. “So if you can spread it out
over 30 years, you have a greater chance of holding on to your money
than if you take it all at once.”

You’ll also want to assemble a team of professionals to help you
navigate these new waters. Lawyers, financial professionals, tax
experts to name a few.

“Obviously you want someone who is well educated, well trained,
but you also want to check your gut and make sure that this is a
person that you like, that you can work with,” Lyons Cole said.

A financial advisor can also serve as a buffer between you and every
long-lost cousin who will come crawling out of the woodwork to ask for cash.

Now before you start filling out game after game, understand that
your odds of winning a jackpot are about 1 in 292.2 million.

So is it even worth playing?

“At the end of the day, we have to remember, you know, you’re
paying to play a game,” Lyons Cole said. “But if it makes
you happy to be part of something, everyone’s excited about it, that’s fine.”

In other words, have fun dreaming, but do not spend more on tickets
than you can afford.

—  10 Things More Likely to Happen than Winning the Powerball —

A $2 ticket gives you a one in 292.2 million chance at joining the
hall of Powerball champions.

Here’s a list of 10 things that have a better chance of happening to
you than winning the Powerball jackpot: 

  • Struck by lightning, while drowning (1 in 183 million)
  • Killed by an asteroid strike (1 in 700,000)
  • Have an IQ
    of 190 or greater (1 in 107 million)
  • Attacked by a shark (1
    in 11.5 million)
  • Elected President of the United States (1
    in 10 million)
  • Getting struck by lightning (1 in
  • Being drafted by an NBA team (1 in 6.8 million)
  • Becoming a movie star (1 in 1.5 million)
  • Dating a
    supermodel (1 in 88,000)
  • Being killed by a vending machine
    (1 in 112 million)

— Is Sharing Caring? —

Some people feel that pooling their money with co-workers will
improve their chance of winning — but with such tiny odds, adding 50
or 100 chances doesn’t give you a leg up.

And if your group is lucky, lottery officials recommend preventing
hard feelings by putting in writing how you plan to split the prize,
since it’s easy for misunderstandings to crop up when hundreds of
millions of dollars are at stake.

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