To be totally honest, I do not dream of winning the lottery.
I’ve never bought a lottery ticket — not even for the record high $1.4 billion Powerball jackpot.
While that kind of money promises incredible, life-changing opportunities, it also comes with the unbelievable burden of dealing with $1.4 billion.
If your numbers are called on Wednesday, you can expect to fend off friends, family and a bunch of weirdos from your high school — all suddenly looking for a handout.
But managing unexpected earnings of this magnitude comes with serious consequences you might not expect.
NBCNews Today gathered advice from money experts and shared nine tips to help you navigate your newfound wealth if you win the Powerball jackpot this week.
Here are some steps you might not have considered:
Don’t Accept the Prize Money Right Away
Cashing in may seem like the first logical step.
But the Powerball jackpot is a life-altering amount of money — you’ll need time to prepare to manage it.
Find out how long you have to claim winnings in your state, and take your time.
Sitting on the winning ticket will give you a chance to not only take your next steps with a clear head, but also to make a plan and hire the right people to prepare your life for this major event.
Don’t Hand Out Cash to Family and Friends
Remember: You’re not obligated to spread your cash around. You’re not being selfish — you’re being smart.
Piles of cash and expensive gifts sound fun, but they can have “significant tax consequences” for the recipient, Baron Solution Group chairman and CEO William R. Patterson pointed out to NBC.
Instead, work with financial advisers, lawyers, accountants and other money experts you’ll need to hire to create a smart plan for sharing the money with loved ones.
Hire a Therapist
“A therapist should probably be your second call after telling your closest family members,” personal finance expert Erica Sandberg told NBC.
“People who do have a huge windfall can’t anticipate all of the emotions they’ll feel. It’s quite a massive pill to swallow.”
Besides pressure from the people around you, you may be overcome with guilt, fear or just the stress that comes with an enormous, unexpected responsibility.
For more tips on what to do if you win the lottery, read the full article from NBCNews Today.
Your Turn: Do you normally play the lottery? Have you bought a Powerball ticket this week?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more.