How to Win the Lottery Jackpot

In an era of inequality and limited social mobility, it’s no wonder that lotteries attract so many players. They’re dangling the prospect of instant riches in a way that appeals to human impulses and our need for novelty. But there’s more to winning the lottery than just buying a ticket.

A big part of the game is understanding how it works. Most of us have heard stories about people who win the jackpot and then promptly spend it all, or they go bankrupt. Whether it’s a quick luxury vacation or a new home, winning the lottery can be a huge financial mistake if you don’t prepare for it.

Having the right team is essential. A good attorney, accountant and financial planner can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that can come with a large windfall. It’s also important to consider whether you want to receive your prize as a lump sum or an annuity. Advertised jackpot amounts are based on the aggregate amount of annuity payments a winner would receive over decades, but most winners choose to take a lump sum payout. A lump sum gives you full access to your money, but it will be subject to income tax in the year you receive it. An annuity, on the other hand, offers 29 annual payments that increase each year by 5%.

Mathematician Stefan Mandel once won the lottery 14 times using a formula that involves finding lotteries with jackpots three times or more than the number of possible combinations. But since new laws have made it impossible to buy tickets in bulk and print them at home, his technique is no longer legal today.