10 Things To Do When You Win The Lottery

By:  Deborah L. Jacobs, Forbes Staff 2/11/2012

The Mega Millions jackpot has increased to $540 million. If you win the jackpot in tomorrow night’s drawing, you won’t ever have to worry about money again–right? Wrong. With good money management you–and your heirs–could live handsomely for many, many years. But from the moment that you claim that prize, you will be descended upon by vultures who want a hefty helping of those winnings. And if you didn’t have smart money habits up until now, you could easily turn out to be your own worst enemy by quickly squandering the fortune. The first precautionary step you should take between now and the drawing is to sign the back of the ticket, says Carolyn Hapeman, a spokeswoman for The New York Lottery. A lottery ticket is a bearer instrument, she explains, meaning that whoever signs the ticket and presents a photo ID can claim the prize. So if you haven’t signed the ticket and it blows out of your hand while you are waiting for a bus, or if you show it to a buddy in a bar and accidentally leave it on the counter, you’ve lost the loot. Here are some steps to help you steer clear of additional risks. Most of them work well for other windfalls too–for example with sudden wealth that comes from an inheritance or the sale of a business.

1. Remain anonymous if your state rules permit it. Once people know you’re suddenly wealthy, you’ll be badgered by requests for handouts from everyone from charities to long-lost friends and relatives–not to mention all the financial “experts” who will be vying for your business. So check state rules to see whether you can dodge them all by remaining anonymous. Although Mega Millions is a national lottery, rules on winner publicity vary by state. In New York, for example, winners’ names are a public record. Elsewhere it may be possible to maintain your anonymity by setting up a trust or limited liability company to receive the winnings, says Beth C. Gamel, a CPA with Pillar Financial Advisors in Waltham, MA. A client of Gamel’s who won a past lottery did that, and had a lawyer claim the prize on behalf of of the trust. Depending on where you bought the ticket, prize winners have between 180 days and one year from the date of the drawing to claim their prize. So find out what the state rules are and plot a course.

2. See a tax pro before you cash the ticket. You have the choice between taking the prize money all at once or having it paid out over 26 years in the form of an annuity. With a lump sum payment, you must immediately pay tax on the entire amount, says Michael A. Kirsh, a financial planner in New York. With an annuity, you are taxed only as you receive the payments. People who have trouble controlling their spending might prefer the discipline of receiving the money as an annuity. But this payout form has other drawbacks, Kirsh notes. You will want to compare the effective yield of the annuity with what you could earn by taking the money as a lump sum, paying the taxes and investing the proceeds. Another issue to consider is whether taking an annuity will leave your family without the cash they need to pay estate tax if you die before the 30-year period is up, Kirsh says. In such situations people typically buy life insurance policies to cover the estate tax bill. You have 60 days from the time you claim your lottery prize to weigh the pros and cons. During this time, ask advisors to crunch the numbers and help you decide which type of payment suits you best.

3. Avoid sudden lifestyle changes. For the first six months after you win the lottery, don’t do anything drastic, like quitting your job, buying a McMansion, or trading up for a luxury car. Meanwhile, set aside a fixed amount for splurges—it’s only natural to want to celebrate your windfall. Save the big purchases for later. For example, you could rent a house in the neighborhood where you were thinking of moving, before you make any commitments, says Guerdon Ely, a financial planner in Chico, Calif. If you need a new car, buy a budget model for now.

4. Pay off all your debts. As I wrote in my post, “The Best Investment Advice I Ever Received,” there is no better investment than paying off debts. Whether it is credit card debt or a mortgage, your rate of return equals the interest rate on the loan. With today’s abysmal yields on relatively secure investments like CDs and Treasurys, that’s especially true. When you’ve paid down a dollar of debt, that’s a dollar you no longer owe. When you invest a dollar, you can’t be sure whether it will grow or shrink.

5. Assemble a team of legal and financial advisers. In situations like this it’s very hard to know “who’s trying to help you and who’s trying to use you,” says Ely. Rather than signing on to a group of advisors that someone else has put together, he recommends handpicking your own lawyer, accountant and investment advisor, and requiring them to work together. Carefully vet each advisor before discussing your situation. Check broker records at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. For attorneys and insurance agents, see whether there have been any complaints filed with state disciplinary authorities. If you live in a small community and don’t want lawyers there to know your business, seek out a professional in the nearest large city. Names can be found on martindale.com, the nationwide lawyers’ directory that you can search by location and area of practice, and on the Web site of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a group of trust and estate lawyers. In effect, the team you put together will function as your board of directors, Ely says. You can start by having a fee-only advisor put together a long-term financial plan and running it by the group for comment. Once you’ve decided on a plan, they can provide checks and balances on each other. You can ask one of them to serve as quarterback, coordinating the group effort. That person can also play the “bad guy,” declining requests from people or organizations for gifts that you don’t want to make.

6. Invest prudently. Ely recommends putting the money in safe, short-term investments and not even touching it for the first six months. Then ask your advisors is to put together an investment portfolio divided half-and-half between equities (such as stocks) and fixed income (like bonds). Don’t fall for investments that you don’t understand or that sound too good to be true.

7. Live within a budget. Especially if you’re not accustomed to having a lot of money, it may take some discipline to preserve your winnings and not go on a wild spending spree. One way to restrain yourself is to only spend income–not principal. Especially in today’s investment world, “It takes a lot of principal to generate income and once you start spending principal, the principal quickly dissipates,” says Dennis I. Belcher, a lawyer with McGuireWoods in Richmond VA.

8. Take steps to protect assets. People who are worth a lot of money need to guard against losing assets to creditors. They include everyone from disgruntled spouses and ex-spouses to people who win lawsuits against you. If people think you have deep pockets they may look for reasons to sue. “If you win the Powerball, everyone’s going to be laying in front of your car so you can run over them so they can sue you,” says Ely. It’s prudent to ensure you are not an easy target. The best defense is to erect a variety of roadblocks that make it difficult, if not impossible, for creditors to reach your money and property. These asset protection strategies, as they are called, can range from relying on state-law exemptions to creating multiple barriers through the use of trusts and family limited partnerships or limited liability companies. It may be possible to rely on a variety of strategies, either separately or in combination with each other.

9. Plan charitable gifts. You can offset the additional income from your lottery winnings with a charitable deduction. But you must make your donation by Dec. 31. For gifts to a public charity, donors are entitled to an income tax deduction for up to 50% of adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash contributions and up to 30% for donations of other appreciated assets held more than 12 months. If you are unable to decide between now and year-end which charities to support, it may be worth considering a donor-advised fund. With a donor-advised fund, you can make a charitable donation this year and claim a federal tax deduction for your irrevocable contribution but postpone recommendations about which charities should receive grants from the account until some time in the future.

10. Review your estate plan. If your winnings have made you suddenly wealthy, this may be the first time that you need to plan for estate tax. The sweeping tax overhaul of 2010 offers more flexibility than ever before. Each person has a $5 million limit on tax-free transfers, which can be applied during life, when you die or some combination of the two. If Congress doesn’t act by the end of this year, that exclusion amount will revert to $1 million and the tax rate will increase to 55%. So if you want to share some of your largess with family and friends, this is the ideal time to do that.

 

Hitting Rock Bottom at Work and Surviving

It’s rare today that your first job is also your last job. In the course of many people’s careers, as they gain time and experience, their positions change. Increased responsibility in most cases should mean increased pay. It can be tricky identifying a good time to move to a new position. If we’re fearful of the change, sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom, sometimes repeatedly, before we wake up and choose to be survivors and not a victim. How do we go from hitting rock bottom to surviving?
A lot of it lies in our perspective, how we internalize change, and how we incorporate our growing pains into the fabric of our lives. We can always increase our resiliency, or our ability to bounce back despite setbacks.
Our lives are such a kaleidoscope of colorful events if we choose to see it this way. It’s easy to focus on the pain, on what’s not going right. The real test of our character is our ability to face setbacks, discomfort, and failure and see it for what it is—find the lesson learned in the experience, and move on to better things as a more humble and compassionate person.
When we are at the bottom looking up we often feel alone and unappreciated as we wonder if anyone cares about us or sees the pain through our tight smiles. Sometimes we ask ourselves what the point of going on is if we feel like our work isn’t valued. If we’ve royally screwed our personal relationships up (or lack thereof) by putting our job ahead of what’s really important to us, then it really can make us question the worth of our lives. Sometimes we hit rock bottom, because we no longer are interested in our job. We could be worn out or stressed to the max. What may really be going on is that we’re ready for a change. We’re having trouble finding purpose in what we do for our job. And we think that holding on to the way things are will keep things the same. However, when we resist change and hold on so tightly to the past or the future, we lose sight of what we’re doing in the here and now.
I have found throughout the years that a storm always precedes a fresh new beginning. Always.
When I find myself blocked or resisting a change with my job, it’s usually because I’ve outgrown the job. I’m ready for a new challenge—whether it’s more responsibility or a new career field. If I find myself anxious or dreading going in to work a storm is definitely brewing. Are you there right now?
Why not try identifying the why behind the pain, discomfort, boredom…the sooner we’re able to move past these negative feelings and beliefs, the sooner our next job will surface.
Hitting rock bottom means the only way to go is up. That we’ve outgrown the current experience and our soul is yearning for something more, something bigger, and something beyond our current situation. So ask yourself what you truly long for and how you can do something right now, today that will get you one step closer to that longing.
Step a little outside of your comfort zone.
Enlist the aid of someone with the experience and willingness to be a safe place that you can be vulnerable and explore what it is you really want.
You are definitely worth it—and the people whose lives you touch in your job will be profoundly affected by your interactions when your job is your passion. Who knows, your relationships may just fall into place as well. When you value your worth, and recognize the tenuous web that intricately spins us all together it will begin to make sense the sooner you work past the pain, longings, and yearnings, you will find happiness, compassion, and success in pursuing your passions.
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations

4th tip for the workplace

Tips for Women

Promote yourself
This is a great skill and essential in a situation where it is necessary to maintain status within a group. Being confident in promoting yourself will improve levels of communication with men in the workplace.

Avoid tag endings
One of the ways women undermine their own abilities in the work place is by using tag endings. These are the couple of little words that are often added on to the end of a sentence like “isn’t it”, “is that ok”, “maybe”, “I think”. These tiny words serve to make you look unsure and change a sentence or what could be a powerful statement in to a question.

Be direct and concise
When communicating with men, come straight to the point and leave out unnecessary details and background information. Men usually communicate in a very direct and to women’s ears, a blunt way.

Your final tip is… “Don’t take male comments so personally”
Men don’t take their comments to each other personally and can’t understand why women do. Women tend to allow their feelings to be hurt by things that men say. To help women succeed at work being able to separate business from personal issues is a great skill.

Tips for Men

Build rapport
Because relationships are important to women, if you make the effort to get to know her, or if she feels she has something in common with you, she is more likely to respond better to your requests, selling methods or ideas.

Avoid monopolizing conversations
Men need to actively practice involving women in open discussion; remembering that it is not her natural tendency to speak up over the top of others.

Don’t lecture
If a man goes on and on about the incident what happens in a woman’s head is she starts to switch from feeling responsible to defending her actions and moves from feeling remorse to resentment.

The final tip for men is “Be specific with praise
This is almost the opposite of the way we would praise a man. Because women like to be able to repeat what they did well, the more specific and the more detail you can give them about what they did well or what you liked the better it is for a woman. For example “Jan, the report you handed in was great. Having the graphs in there and the comparison of the two departments made a big impact.

Are you ready to learn even more tips? Why not get started and improve your skills with a workshop that has the timely information to make you stand out in your organization and move your business or career forward.

Again, if you found this information helpful, click the link below to learn more about the complete online video eWorkshop, “Mars and Venus in the Workplace”. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMPLETE ONLINE VIDEO eWORKSHOP NOW

“Mars and Venus in the Workplace” is the same life-changing workshop that John Gray and his team of Mars Venus Success coaches have given in-person throughout the world. And now you can benefit from this workshop in the comfort of your own home.

PURCHASE “MARS VENUS in the WORKPLACE” ONLINE VIDEO eWORKSHOP TODAY!

“How to Get What You Want at Work – 1st Tip For The Work Place

“How to Get What You Want at Work – 4 Tips for Dealing with the Opposite Sex at Work”. These tips are based on the fascinating online video eWorkshop: Mars and Venus in the Workplace. There are 4 unique tips for women and 4 for men that when practiced reduces gender conflict and will have the following benefits:
• Higher productivity and creativity
• Greater cooperation and collaboration
• Decreased loss of personnel, which leads to decreased cost & time spent on recruitment and training
• Better understanding of the needs and concerns of your customers (regardless of whether they are internal or external customers), and
• Better decision-making… a competitive advantage for the company as a whole when it maximizes masculine & feminine skills
Here is the first tip for both a woman and a man…

Tip For Women
Women need to practice letting others know of their achievements, their results and their ideas. Do not wait for someone to ask you for your ideas or what you’ve been up to – let them know. Men do not see this as bragging. What they see is a competent and capable person. Women need to remember that men are socialized from an early age to suppress doubts and maintain, either a façade or, a reality of self confidence. This is a great skill and essential in a situation where it is necessary to maintain status within a group. Being confident in promoting yourself will only improve levels of communication with men in the workplace.

Tip For Men
For men dealing with women, building rapport is a very easy and important way to improve your work dealings with women. Because relationships are important to women, if you make the effort to get to know them, or if they feel they have something in common with you, they are more likely to positively respond to your requests and ideas.

A female manager will typically tend to discuss a challenge or situation with others, seek their input and feedback from the team before making a recommendation to senior management. She thinks it’s important that everyone feels they have contributed to the decision and therefore are more likely to support it. This is her style of management. It is based on cooperation and collaboration (and a whole stack of other C words – conversation, connection, commiseration and compassion).When a man values and frequently practices building rapport another C word will be realized and that is COOPERATION.

The whole premise of our “Mars and Venus in the Workplace” online video eWorkshop is that we are different and equal – not that one is better than the other – different and equal. Through awareness and understanding of some basic gender differences we both can learn some simple, yet practical solutions… making it much easier to interpret each other’s behavior correctly, act accordingly and ultimately get the outcome we desire.

If you found this information helpful, click the link below to learn more about the complete online video eWorkshop, “Mars and Venus in the Workplace”. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMPLETE ONLINE VIDEO eWORKSHOP NOW

“Mars and Venus in the Workplace” is the same life-changing, career-changing workshop that John Gray and his team of Mars Venus Success coaches have given in-person throughout the world. And now you can benefit from this workshop in the comfort of your own home.

PURCHASE TODAY! “MARS and VENUS in the WORKPLACE” ONLINE VIDEO eWORKSHOP

The Relationships You Want. Start Here.

Sincerely,

Mars Venus Coaching Team

2nd Way Men & Women Can Reduce Each Other’s Stress

Hopefully you will learn about the changing roles of men and women, and how this has affected our stress levels.

Here is the second way we can help each other reduce stress….

#2- Recognize that men and women are actually hardwired to be different. The way our brains are structured and function is not the same. Acknowledging these hardwired gender differences helps us to identify and release our unrealistic expectations that our partners be more like us and to accept that we are not the same.

At first, these differences may seem to be a hindrance, but once you fully understand the biology, it becomes clear that we complement each other perfectly. In fact, it is as if men and women were made for each other.

Studies confirm there are real differences in the way men and women estimate time, judge speed, do math, orient themselves in space and visualize objects in 3-D. Men tend to excel in these skills. Women have more developed relationship abilities, sensitivity to emotions in others, emotional and aesthetic expression and appreciation, and language skills. Women are adept at performing detailed, planned tasks.

The advances in neuroscientific research have allowed scientists to discover significant anatomical and neuropsychological differences between male and female brains that explain our observable behavioral differences.
• A woman’s brain has a larger corpus callosum, the bundle of nerves that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This link, which produces cross-talk between the hemispheres, is 25 percent smaller in men. In practical terms, this means men do not connect feelings and thoughts as readily as women do. This stronger connection between different parts of the brain increases a woman’s ability to multitask. When she is listening, she is also thinking, remembering, feeling and planning all at the same time.
• A man’s brain is highly specialized, using a specific part of a single hemisphere to accomplish a task. A woman’s brain is more diffuse, using both hemispheres for many tasks. This neurological difference allows men to focus and to block out distractions for long periods of time. Men tend to do one thing at a time in their brains and in life.
This insight can help a woman not to take it personally when he is at his computer and seems annoyed when she asks him a question. For her, it is a simple task to shift her attention when she is interrupted, but for him it is much more difficult.

In a similar manner, women become annoyed when a man tries to narrow down the focus of her conversation to a single point. He may interrupt her and ask her to get to the point, or ask what she wants him to do when she is still just connecting all the dots of what she is talking about. Quite commonly men will say, “I understand”, but what a woman hears that he wants her to finish talking.

By understanding our differences, we can begin today applying new insights and strategies to support each other in lowering stress levels. The most effective way to do this is to respect our differences-which are anatomical and hardwired in our brains.

If you found this information helpful, click the link below to learn more about the complete online video eWorkshop Why Mars & Venus Collide.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMPLETE ONLINE VIDEO eWORKSHOP NOW

Why Mars & Venus Collide is the same life-changing workshop that John Gray and his team of Mars Venus Success coaches have given in-person throughout the world. And now you can benefit from this workshop in the comfort of your own home.

PURCHASE WHY MARS & VENUS COLLIDE ONLINE VIDEO eWORKSHOP TODAY!

The Relationships You Want. Start Here.

Sincerely,

Mars Venus Coaching