If you’ve ever dreamed of winning the jackpot lottery, you’re not alone. It’s a phenomenon that has grown to the point where it’s almost commonplace to see billion-dollar prizes in the headlines. Some of that is due to luck, but rising interest rates and changes to the odds are also factors.
In the past, if you won the lottery, the entire prize pool was paid out in one lump sum. But since 2021, the value of the top prize in Powerball and Mega Millions has been divided up over 30 years if you choose the annuity option. That means you’d receive a check for the first year, then 29 annual payments that increase by 5%. After the 30-year period ends, any remaining balance would be paid to your estate.
A single winner can also split the prize if he or she purchases more than one ticket. That’s why the jackpots are so much bigger now — there’s an increased chance that more than one person will win.
The probability that someone will win the jackpot is very low, but it’s still possible. According to Lotterycodex, a site that calculates probabilities, the chance of winning a jackpot is 1 in 6,048. That’s still a mind-boggling number for the average human to comprehend, but it’s better than getting struck by lightning hundreds of times or having your hair pulled out by a tiger.
One of the biggest challenges for new winners is staying grounded and not allowing their winnings to go to their heads. They may be approached by people with crazy investment ideas, but it’s important to remember that most of these ideas will lose money over time. Instead, it’s a good idea to set aside an emergency fund and invest in retirement savings.
In order to play the jackpot lottery, you must be 18 or older in your state. The Jackpocket app uses your phone’s location to verify that you meet that age requirement and only offers games in your jurisdiction. If you are lucky enough to win a jackpot, you should secure the ticket in a safe place and consult with legal and financial professionals to make smart decisions about taxes and investments. It’s also important to avoid making any big purchases until you have a firm plan in place.