Financial advisor says to have a plan in place before accepting prize money

9:28 PM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - Many convenience stores are packed with people trying to get a Powerball ticket for Wednesday's drawing.

The chances of winning are slim, but what if you happen to win?

Jaime Westenbarger from Forest Hills Financial offers some advice.

"You want to get all your affairs in order, before you even think about driving down to Lansing to claim your prize," says Westenbarger, a financial advisor.

Westenbarger says you should hire a financial advisor and an estate planning attorney.  If not, you could eventually end up with nothing.

"There's many TV shows on where people who have won tons of money and somehow manage to lose it all," says Westenbarger.  To prevent losing it, he says, you must first figure out what you want to do with the winnings.

"You decide what kind of money you're comfy with just blowing.  With the rest of the money, you concentrate of what you're going to do with that, to provide income for you for the rest of your life."

It is possible to live off the winnings alone. The interest off $2 million is more than most people make in their lifetime.

"The life of everyone that's ever been related to you for multiple generations forward can change with just a little bit of intelligence mixed-in with the excitement of winning that amazing price," says the advisor.

Westenbarger has one last piece of advice -- take the lump sum, so you have control of the full amount.  In most cases, he says, you would only take the annuity if you didn't think you could manage the money.

Westenbarger has much more advice for people who have either inherited or won a large amount of money. You can find the information on his website.


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