I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

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DrHotLunch
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I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by DrHotLunch » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:13 pm

I'm in a unique situation.

Earlier this year, I won the lottery. Literally. I won about 1.2M (after taxes). This is life-changing.
My wife and I already had about 140k in retirement savings previous to winning. We max out our 401k and 403b, respectively.

I am just over 40 years old. We have 2 children who have about 10-15 years before College. I'd like to fund about 75-80% of their college education. I don't want to give them a "free ride", I'd like my kids to learn the value of money, and work for it.

I have about 215k in "bad debt" (credit cards, a 401k loan, car loans, student loans, etc.). My credit score is horrific. I'd like to wipe out all debt ASAP, except for maybe one of the car loans which is at 0.9%.
I have about 325k left on my mortgage on a house worth about 400k. I have 20+ years remaining on a 5/1 ARM that's at 3.25% currently.
So, all told, I have about 540k it TOTAL debt (215k as well as 325k in mortgage)
I'm not sure if I should pay it all off, refinance at a lower rate, pay a large portion of it off, etc. I'm not sure if it's worth letting the money work for me in the market, or the satisfaction of having almost zero debt. My risk tolerance is moderately high (gambling paid off, after all, haha). I'm cool with a 80/20 allocation in stocks/bonds.

I like my co-workers and plan to remain at my job for awhile. I make about 130k/year, and my wife makes about 62k/year. I would like to cut back a little, maybe closer to 100k per year. While I like my co-workers and workplace, I hate my job field, and I want to retire ASAP. My field is soul-crushing. My wife feels the same way. We'd like to get out within 10 years. I think retiring at 50-52 is doable. I've even considered investing in some schooling for a job I might enjoy a little better, in a field I'm passionate about, which pays next to nothing, but that would delay retirement and my real "dream" of doing absolutely nothing. I'd love to "snowbird it" once the kids are out of the house. Keep our house in the northeast, and grab a retirement home somewhere warm.

I don't need any "major" purchases. Some upgrades to the house, finish the basement, maybe a new truck in a year or two, maybe a generator, solar panels, that's about it. I won the lottery, so I need to enjoy it a little - I'd like to blow a few grand on just "fun" - a vacation, a new TV, a kegerator, 2 chicks at the same time, you name it :). After all, I won the lottery. It's unreal. I want to enjoy it. I don't need an elaborate lifestyle, just enough to go out to eat when I want, take a small vacation here and there, and relax. And drink.

I immediately began researching what to do. I got a will, power of attorney, etc. I'm hiring an accountant. Our current financial advisor, while very nice, is through Edward Jones. I've read a little on Bogleheads and their investment books/advice in the past few weeks to know that I'd like to work with Vanguard wherever possible and embrace indexing strategy. My wife is adamant about keeping a financial advisor, and she likes our current one. She feels this is too complicated of a situation and wants it in the hands of a professional. I'm not keen on paying all those fees for managed funds. Everything I've read in the last 2-3 weeks has really steered me towards the Boglehead's priciples.

My current plan of action:
-Pay off all debt excluding any loan/mortage 3.5% or lower, and try to refi the mortgage into 7-10 years.
I'm confused about what my new income this year means for contribution amounts to Roth IRA's, etc., I'd like to max all of that out.
-Move as much as I can to Vanguard without the wife complaining
-Acquire a younger, more attractive wife if my wife keeps complaining ;)

I need advice, everyone. How can I make it easier for these dreams to come true? These winnings are a complete life changing "reset" button for me. I've been given a blessing, and I need to make it count. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Goal33
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Goal33 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:21 pm

My advise is to pay off all debt including the mortgage. Fire your financial advisor and then come back here for advise with your updated situation.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

AZAttorney11
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by AZAttorney11 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:26 pm

DrHotLunch wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:13 pm
2 chicks at the same time, you name it :). After all, I won the lottery. It's unreal. I want to enjoy it. I don't need an elaborate lifestyle, just enough to go out to eat when I want, take a small vacation here and there, and relax. And drink.
That might cost you more than just half of your lottery winnings.

And let me throw some water on your post. You don't have that much money. I don't know your total assets, but based on what you've posted above, you do not have a net worth equal to or greater than $1 mm despite receiving a $1.2 million windfall after taxes (are you sure the full amount of taxes was withheld, you could be in for a nasty surprise come tax season). I don't say that to be a jerk, but if you want to pull the plug on your working life and start early retirement, you're going to need a lot more in the way of assets and you'll have to avoid lifestyle creep.

I vote for paying off the debt immediately and parking what's left of the windfall into FDIC-insured accounts for 3-6 months while you come to terms with your windfall. Don't quit your job, do home renovations, or start buying toys outside of the ordinary course.

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tc101
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by tc101 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:27 pm

My advise is to pay off all debt including the mortgage. Fire your financial advisor and then come back here for advise with your updated situation.
That is exactly what I would recommend. Couldn't say it better. I could go into more details about why these are the right things to do, but its time for me to get to bed.
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.

denovo
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by denovo » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:29 pm

1. Tell no one.

2. Read No.1 Again.

aristotelian
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by aristotelian » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:32 pm

This is life changing but do not get carried away. You have a lot of bad debt as well as good debt, and you were behind in saving for retirement. This is a huge windfall, but you are going to lose a lot of it to taxes. This gets you back to where you should be. You are right to stay at your job. Pay off your debt, including the house. Invest the rest. Also, do not tell anyone.

chicagoan23
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by chicagoan23 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:35 pm

My goodness, what a post. Congratulations!!

I would say in your situation a payoff of all debt is probably a good idea. Once that is done I would say blow $20k on yourself and then tie up most of the rest in something that gives you some time to think. DON'T DO ANYTHING RASH!!

Did you read the wiki on managing a windfall? Some good advice there.

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Sandtrap
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:37 pm

You must read the Bogleheads "Wiki" called "Managing a Windfall" before you do anything.

LINK[url]https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Managing_a_windfall/url]

Tell nobody.

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ClevrChico
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by ClevrChico » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:47 pm

You asked the right people and have a plan in progress. I think that's great!

Some friends of friends won in the 90's and spent it all on 90's cars and a failed business. That seems incredibly foolish now.

Beach
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Beach » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:00 pm

1.2M is nice, but it sounds like you haven't been making good financial choices prior to your win.

As you stated
" have about 215k in "bad debt" (credit cards, a 401k loan, car loans, student loans, etc.). My credit score is horrific. I'd like to wipe out all debt ASAP, except for maybe one of the car loans which is at 0.9%.
I have about 325k left on my mortgage on a house worth about 400k. I have 20+ years remaining on a 5/1 ARM that's at 3.25% currently.
So, all told, I have about 540k it TOTAL debt (215k as well as 325k in mortgage)

Don't quit your job and don't spend any money other than paying off your "bad debt". You already have a bad spending problem, and you have made alot of poor choices on that paragraph above (401K loan and 5/1 ARM :oops: ) Sorry to be a downer, but you need to address this asap or you will blow your lottery winnings too.

psteinx
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by psteinx » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:01 pm

Assuming OP and OP's claims are real, I would not be terribly surprised if OP blows through the windfall quicker than he expects.

Here's what I see (assuming the info provided is a fairly complete financial picture):

*Prior* to winning the lottery, OP is just over 40, and combined with spouse:

$192K joint income
$140K retirement savings
$75K home equity
$215K in bad debt

So, basically, despite a very high joint income, OP by age a little over 40 had a net worth of approximately $0, prior to the lottery win. (There's probably a bit of value in vehicles, home furnishings, and miscellaneous stuff. But still...)

And OP plays the lottery - worked out for OP, yes, but not a savvy play, generally.

OK, so now that OP has won, he wants:
* To upgrade the house
* Finish the basement
* New truck
* Generator & solar panels
* Vacation
* TV
* Kegerator
* Crude comment (joke I hope, but a bad and distasteful one) about cheating on his spouse
* Relax, Drink
* Cut back on income to $100K/year (from $130K)

OP has a retirement ahead (wants early-ish retirement)
OP has college education for 2 kids ahead

Given that OP was unable to get a net worth much above $0 despite $192K joint income before the lottery, and given that post-lottery, OP wants less income, a potentially shorter career, a non-trivial list of things to buy (and what does OP's wife want?), and still has retirement and college to save for, perhaps OP should be more circumspect about his situation...
Last edited by psteinx on Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Pajamas
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Pajamas » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:03 pm

Agree that you should pay off all of your debt, not spend anything more on toys or anything else, and don't tell anyone. I don't know if you can get good terms on a refinance of your mortgage despite your new wealth in light of your poor credit history, maybe someone else could comment on that, but you would probably be best off in the intermediate to long term if you immediately eliminate all of your debt.

The rest you can invest very simply in a two or three fund portfolio or even a target retirement fund.

You don't need a financial advisor in your situation to take a cut of what you do have. It is a nice windfall, but it's not like you are suddenly in the top 1/10 of 1% and need a family office with several full-time employees to manage your vast holdings or anything like that. You can manage your own investments.

The biggest danger you face is whatever got you into so much debt in the first place, especially considering your annual household income. You could pay off all the debt and end up right back where you were before winning the lottery in just a couple of years without doing anything super drastic except just buying a few toys and continuing to do whatever you were doing. You should really take a hard look at how you ended up with so much debt and how to change that going forward to live a very low-key lifestyle but with less stress from financial problems and pressing debt. This may tie into with why your wife thinks you need a financial advisor. As others said, you will still have to work unless you live a super thrifty lifestyle well below your current one, which doesn't sound realistic for you.

daveydoo
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by daveydoo » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:06 pm

AZAttorney11 wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:26 pm
You don't have that much money.
+1000. If this is a genuine post -- and, like others, I'm not confident it is -- you make $200K a year and now have a net worth of $500 or $600K and are talking about stopping work because it's not perfect? You didn't "win the lottery"; you lucked into a partial reset. Assuming you're in good health, how on earth did you accumulate all that bad debt with all that income? Respectfully, you need an intervention -- or this will all be gone in a year or less. I mean, if any of this is real :D .

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FIREchief
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by FIREchief » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:11 pm

psteinx wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:01 pm
Assuming OP and OP's claims are real, I would not be terribly surprised if OP blows through the windfall quicker than he expects.
Bingo!! His job is soul crushing and he wants to drink and have "2 chicks at one time," while remaining at his job for "awhile." I didn't realize that a million dollars still went this far. Sure, it's all just math, but why bother with that when you're a millionaire! :oops:
Last edited by FIREchief on Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Teague
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Teague » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:13 pm

Congratulations!

As noted above, start by reading the BH wiki on managing a windfall. We may not have too many lottery winners around here, but a lot of folks have come into inheritances, several on the order of your winnings amount or even much more. Seeing folks post about receiving this amount of money is not that unusual. The wiki is a great resource.

Your prior (and current?) financial habits give me cause for concern. You state your credit rating is terrible, and you have accumulated a lot of "bad" debt. I think you need to seriously reflect on how that happened, and how you will avoid those issues going forward. Otherwise details like how to invest these winnings will quickly become meaningless.

Yes, definitely keep the job, you frankly did not win enough to quit working. That should become clearer after you pay some things off and see where you stand financially at that point.

Good luck.
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whodidntante
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by whodidntante » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:25 pm

Your winnings have put you on the path to financial independence. My advice is not to stray from it. I wouldn't reduce my income in your spot, unless you are also OK with a permanent lifestyle reduction. Your household income is ~200k. Put as much away as you can and don't rack up any more high interest debt.

Point
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Point » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:26 pm

You need to learn how to live way below your means.

The lottery win will help you address your existing debt, but you have not made progress saving for your retirement given your age.

Read the wiki in lottery wins and wait for a year or two before acquiring new things.

Lifestyle creep will wipe you out. Pay off the debt, save the rest. Live well below your income and create no new debt.

Congrats on the win, but you’ll end up losing if you don’t make a serious change in your lifestyle and how you use your income.

CFM300
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by CFM300 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:33 pm

I think you could retire in 10 years if you only invest your current winning or use them to pay down debt, and you and your wife continue to earn nearly $200k per year for the next 10 years and you continue to save additional money. To retire at 50, you'll need a good chunk of change ($2 million?), especially since your kids will be entering college around that time. If you blow your lottery winnings or quit your jobs, you may not be able to retire, ever.
Last edited by CFM300 on Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Saving$
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Saving$ » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:41 pm

Congratulations.

With all due respect, your finances before this were a disaster and unsustainable. All this will do is pull you out of a hole temporarily. What are you going to do to have a sustainable financial plan? You have been using Edward Jones, and your wife wants to stay. If the EJ advisor did not tell you the finances were unsustainable prior to you winning the lottery, this advisor is worse than bad.

You know what you have to do - your family has a spending problem. If you don't get that under control there will be nothing left to finance your kids college. What is your plan to get the spending under control? The laundry list of things you mentioned you want - vacations, vehicle, solar panel, etc. is HUGE. That is not "a little reward." That is spending like a multi millionaire. Except you are not even a millionaire - subtract liabilities from assets and you have a net worth of $0. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, that is unbelievable (and not in a good way) for a couple in their 40's bringing in $200k/year...

So I would recommend you
1. Don't tell anyone
2. Increase your and your wifes 401k contribution to the max
3. Pay off the $200k of bad debt.
4. Max your Roths if you can
5. Max your HSA if you have one
- At this point you will probably only have a bit over $900k left. I would spread it out among four high yield savings accounts until after the first of the year, and give yourself three months to get your spending under control. Track every cent. Figure out where the money is bleeding to. You should be able to live off your income cash flow even with your 401k's maxxed. If you can't do that you need to adjust until you can.
- Yes, eventually pay off the mortgage. You will have about $600k left, which is still low for a $200k income household in their 40's

Chuck
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Chuck » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:56 pm

In OP's defense, "2 chicks at once" is a movie quote, and didn't sound like a serious objective.

CurlyDave
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by CurlyDave » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:24 am

You won a fair chunk of money, but a million does not go as far as it used to.

Personally, I would pay off his interest debt, but keep the mortgage. Put the money in a couple of low-fee funds, or buy ETFs.

If the ARM adjusts upward you can withdraw the money from the ETFs and pay down or pay off the mortgage.

But, as others have said you have a high income and have not managed to accumulate any savings at all. If you do not change your ways, you will end up with some good stories, but no nest egg.

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FIREchief
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by FIREchief » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:31 am

Chuck wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:56 pm
In OP's defense, "2 chicks at once" is a movie quote, and didn't sound like a serious objective.
The thought/concept was around long before that movie and, just like the OP's thought process, is flawed and likely to end in disaster. It's ironic that many who really have "won the lottery" never even wasted their money on a ticket. :beer
Last edited by FIREchief on Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Momus
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Momus » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:31 am

1. Pay off all debts including mortgage. It will give you cash flow of $9000/month net thru your combined income after your pay off your debts.
2. Fire your financial advisor, edward jones is one the highest fee brokerage out there. DIY boglehead only
3. Live below your means

There is a lot your can do with $9000 net/month. Save half $4500, spend half $4500, you will still live really well with NO mortgage. I think you have a spending problem. Don't ever go back to your old ways racking up debt. Always set aside savings first 20% minimum, but you can afford to save 50% of your net income now, and spend the rest.

toblerone
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by toblerone » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:39 am

DrHotLunch wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:13 pm
I have about 215k in "bad debt" (credit cards, a 401k loan, car loans, student loans, etc.). My credit score is horrific. I'd like to wipe out all debt ASAP, except for maybe one of the car loans which is at 0.9%.
DrHotLunch wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:13 pm
I don't need any "major" purchases. Some upgrades to the house, finish the basement, maybe a new truck in a year or two, maybe a generator, solar panels, that's about it. I won the lottery, so I need to enjoy it a little - I'd like to blow a few grand on just "fun" - a vacation, a new TV, a kegerator, 2 chicks at the same time, you name it :). After all, I won the lottery. It's unreal. I want to enjoy it. I don't need an elaborate lifestyle, just enough to go out to eat when I want, take a small vacation here and there, and relax. And drink.
215k in bad debt - how much of that was TVs, trucks, vacations, and the like?
It seems like you intend to do all the things you should not be doing. If this is for real, you definitely need an intervention. Otherwise, I smell a troll. IBTL!

123
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by 123 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:56 am

A million dollars really doesn't really go very far these days.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Jazztonight
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:21 am

You've gotten good advice so far, and need to do some more serious reading and thinking.

What jumps out at me is your wife's desire to keep your financial advisor. Is this because she doesn't trust your financial judgment (or you)? It's nice that you won a million bucks, but that's not because you've lived a Boglehead lifestyle. Can that change? You both need to be on the same page and get your financial house in order. If you continue to live as you have, in a short time you'll be back where you started.

Living like and being a Boglehead is not about having millions of dollars. It's about your mindset and lifestyle.

I wish you the best, and hope you follow some of the good advice you've received. Your windfall may be a timely helping hand, but more than anything else it may be a strong wake up call.
Last edited by Jazztonight on Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bastiat
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Bastiat » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:24 am

Good Lord. Is there enough hay to feed all these high horses some of you guys rode in on?

The only explanation I can think of is jealousy about the fact that you've worked hard and been disciplined to get to where you are, whereas this guy probably made some poor decisions and lucked into more than some of you have to begin with. Whatever the reason, if your goal is to discourage people who aren't perfect from asking for advice, you're doing a great job. Perhaps you'd prefer to continue to lob the same platitudes back and forth between people who don't really need help in the first place. I personally don't get much out of echo chambers.

OP: I'd pay off all the "bad debt", but keep the mortgage and the 0.9% car loan.
Look into 529 plans and set aside whatever you feel appropriate in a conservative (10 year time horizon) portfolio for college.
Put the rest into an index fund portfolio with Vanguard.
Ask your wife if she thinks you should hire someone to manage your money at a starting salary of $15,000/year, with raises every year as your portfolio grows. When she balks at this, explain to her that's exactly what you're doing by keeping your current advisor at a 1% fee.
A lot of your wants are major purchases. You can afford maybe one or two. I understand wanting to enjoy your winnings. Go on a vacation, or buy some solar, but you absolutely cannot accomplish your entire list without squandering this opportunity.
Your credit score would not be "horrific" if you had been making wise financial decisions; you've got to decide if you're actually serious about retiring early (or at all) and start delaying gratification if you are.

Ignore the Debbie Downers; there are actually people here willing to help.

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celia
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by celia » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:54 am

I disagree with most of the advice given so far. I DO NOT think the OP should pay off any debt until he figures out why he still is in debt (except for the mortgage). If he paid everything off, what will keep him from going right back where he is now? Really. :oops:

What lessons has he learned? Did he ever attempt budgeting? Why hasn't he and his wife saved very much compared to others their age and with their income? There is something wrong with the "baseline" situation and adding a windfall on top of it, won't fix it. Those lottery winnings will not only be gone in a year but the debt could even be bigger if he follows through with many of those plans. Those plans could cost him $2 million AND he will have to keep working until 65 or until he has a net worth of more than $2 million if he wants to retire early. (Early retirement needs the same money that regular retirement needs PLUS living expenses for all those years between early retirement and age 65.)

The wiki page for Managing A Windfall first recommends setting aside one year of living expenses and putting the rest away until you get a good plan that you are comfortable with. I don't think the OP can make any plan until he files his 2017 taxes and sees how much more will be owed in taxes or how much he will get back. Meanwhile he and his wife should prove to themselves they can live within a budget while paying off some of the debt and increasing their savings using their regular income. By paying the debt off all at once, OP and his wife will lose out on this experience, one that they may need to rely on in the future.

During the next year, OP and his wife could start building a priority list of what they want to spend the lottery money on, along with the cost of each list item. Set it aside after a week, then return to it 3 or 4 months later. Update it according to more reliable item "costs" and re-prioritize, if necessary. Repeat again 3 or 4 months later. Repeat at one year from now. If the "plan" has stayed "stable" for 6 months or so, then they can implement some of it. But they won't be able to get everything on the wish list, because they can't afford it out of the lottery money. They will need to start using some of their income for these goals too.

That is the way I see it. It likely is not what the OP wants to hear. But I think it is the best way to achieve some of the stated goals.
Last edited by celia on Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Watty
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Watty » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:14 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:37 pm
You must read the Bogleheads "Wiki" called "Managing a Windfall" before you do anything.

LINK[url]https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Managing_a_windfall/url]

Tell nobody.
+1

Paying off the all the debt right away except the mortgage is a no-brainer easy choice.

One thing you should do right away is to make sure that you have high car insurance limits and an umbrella policy if you don't already have one. Now that you have more assets you are much more likely to be sued.

Vanguard will provide financial advice for a reasonable fee and they will not try to put you in crappy investments to make more money off of you with hidden fees. Using them for a few years would not be a bad idea and could make your wife more comfortable with leaving EJ.

https://investor.vanguard.com/financial ... ial-advice

A million dollars is a LOT of money but there are lots of people like athletes and performers that earn ten time that for a few years and end up being broke by the time they are middle age so you need to be very careful.

It would also be good to read the wiki on "safe withdrawal rate" and play with firecalc to get an idea of how much you could spend each year if you retire in the near future.

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Safe_withdrawal_rates

https://www.firecalc.com/

Depending on your assumption it would be somewhere around $30,000 a year, but if you quit your job you would also have to pay for health insurance out of that.
Last edited by Watty on Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

simmias
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by simmias » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:16 am

As someone mentioned earlier, the "two chicks" quote was definitely a reference to Office Space. It sounds like some of you need to drop whatever you're doing and watch it.

OP, read "The Millionaire Next Door." Then start reading the Mr. Money Mustache blog. I agree with most everyone else about your spending problem.

I have to admit that I started reading your post thinking, "Hey, a lottery winner who may keep it! He's reading Bogleheads, he's already saving for retirement, good for him!" Then I got to your income, debt and spending. You've already won the lottery twice - once with the 1.2 million, and again with the high income. Don't squander either opportunity. Get your spending under control.

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Mr.BB » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:27 am

denovo wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:29 pm
1. Tell no one.

2. Read No.1 Again.
+1
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

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FIREchief
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by FIREchief » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:35 am

simmias wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:16 am
As someone mentioned earlier, the "two chicks" quote was definitely a reference to Office Space. It sounds like some of you need to drop whatever you're doing and watch it.
Probably not going to happen. Checking IMDB reveals "A comedy from Mike Judge, creator of "Beavis and Butt-head" and co-creator "King of the Hill"

Life is simply too short for this sort of nonsense.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

grettman
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by grettman » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:26 am

I agree with paying off debt.

But you need to be introspective and figure out and determine what changes you need to make regarding your approach to money. iF you don't you will blow through this windfall and end up with bad debt again.

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Tamarind » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:54 am

I recall reading somewhere that most large lottery prize winners are broke within 5 years. Judging by the litany of bad decisions behind the OP, he's well prepared to join them.

OP, how much of your non-mortgage debt is student loans? What was the 401k loan used for?

I also suggest that you stop and think before rolling on with the spending. You have recieved a staggeringly unlikely chance to start fresh - make the most of it.

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by AntsOnTheMarch » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:55 am

I don't have specific advice but I'd worry that if you've been comfortable racking up debt at this rate with a nice income, what's to stop you from doubling and tripling down on that approach? Money, in my experience, doesn't change people. It simply provides them with the ability to become more of what they already are—and to fully express it.

Office Space is a film that should be watched by everyone—if for no other reason than to become familiar with the cultural references. Plus, you may enjoy it. Same goes for Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by DarthSage » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:15 am

I'm not going to comment on Edward Jones, specifically, but you do need a financial advisor. As others have stated, your family has been living beyond its means, with bad debt and little preparation for the future. Assuming your post is true, the first thing you need to do is step back and really evaluate your financial position with someone objective. Your debt is way too high, your spending is way too high, your retirement savings are low, and your college savings nonexistent. You have been given an opportunity to "right the ship". Your household needs to change its approach to spending an investing, or this money is going to go right out the door.

I would park the winnings in a 6-month CD to give yourself some time to work on your mindset and really think about your financial priorities. (I probably would pay off the bad debt, first thing, though). You simply don't have enough to fix up the house, retire early, fund college, and pare back working hours.

I do wish you luck. With some effort, you can put this windfall to good use for your family's future.

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by bottlecap » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:35 am

I would take $20k to spend now.

Then I'd pay down all debt but the mortgage. You do this now because that debt is a mistake. Pay it off before you decide you have far better things to do with this windfall. If you blow the rest on cocaine, at least you've gotten out from that debt.

I'd put the rest in FDIC insured accounts.

For 6 months, I'd do nothing else. Don't scale back work. Learn about investing, become financially educated, and decide whether to pay off the mortgage (I probably would).

Then institute your plan.

This is life changing money, but you also have a lot of not-exactly-responsible debt, so it's not "scale back on my job immediately" money. Maybe in 6 months you will decide it is. But don't get carried away right now.

You have 401k savings, so you have some idea of the importance of putting some back. This could erase past mistakes and give you a head start, which is life-changing if you do it right.

Take some time to think before you do.

Good luck,

JT

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by knpstr » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:40 am

tc101 wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:27 pm
My advise is to pay off all debt including the mortgage. Fire your financial advisor and then come back here for advise with your updated situation.
That is exactly what I would recommend. Couldn't say it better. I could go into more details about why these are the right things to do, but its time for me to get to bed.
+1

And never go into debt again, even avoid 0% interest debt.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by The Wizard » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:42 am

DarthSage wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:15 am
I'm not going to comment on Edward Jones, specifically, but you do need a financial advisor. As others have stated, your family has been living beyond its means, with bad debt and little preparation for the future. Assuming your post is true, the first thing you need to do is step back and really evaluate your financial position with someone objective...
An Edward Jones person is a salesman for front loaded, high expense mutual funds. I do not see them being at all concerned with overall financial health assessments, such as debt reduction and budgeting of expenses.
Plus it takes an almost forensic analysis of expenditures over the last 12-24 months to figure just what the root causes of poor personal finance are.

Why are CC bills not paid in full each month?
Why is OP's credit score less than 760 (presumably)?
The financial advisor needs to start with those questions...
Attempted new signature...

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Longdog » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:44 am

With this windfall, you do have an opportunity to improve your life by paying off that bad debt especially, but only if you change your ongoing financial behavior by living a more sustainable lifestyle. By accumulating so much bad debt, even with your very good combined income, that suggests you were living beyond your means. If that continues, this will only be a temporary reprieve. You should get a good handle on your expenses. Never again should you charge anything on a credit card that you cannot pay for in full when the bill comes.

Good luck. I sincerely hope you don't fall into the same trap that so many lottery winners fall into.
Steve

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by The Wizard » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:45 am

bottlecap wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:35 am
I would take $20k to spend now...
Why?
OP and wife already spend too much as indicated by the unpaid CC debt.
They need to take that $20k and pay down debt...
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by mouses » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:47 am

I haven't had time to read all the replies, so this is just my view.

I would be very cautious about spending money until you understand your new tax situation. You need a very good honest CPA, and even then I would wait for the first tax return to get processed and to understand what things will look like tax-wise after that.

One thing I am concerned about with lotteries is the safety factor of the family. Then there would be the requests for money. The good news about the latter is you didn't win megamillions, so you can say, we have just enough to secure retirement and put the kids through college, (even though that isn't exactly what you plan to do with it.) Unless it's too late, or if the state releases the names of winners, tell no one.

Then I would get rid if the debt but also take a real look at how you are spending money and tighten that up. Ease into extra spending except for small things over the next few years as you get a better handle on your finances.

Not to be a wet blanket. $1 million is major money, but over a lifetime with kids, illness, retirement, it is not a free ride. If you aren't careful, in a few years you could be back in your current situation.

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by p0nyboy » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:15 am

Pay off all debt including home. Fund the kids college. After taxes you wont have much left. Resume life...try to live within your means since you havent yet. Like others said...you dont have that much money...even with the lottery winnings. Good luck to you...I have a feeling you'll need it.

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Toons » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:29 am

Pay Off All Debt.
Unshackle the ball and chain.
"Freedom"
Control Your Spending.
:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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CyclingDuo
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by CyclingDuo » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:35 am

DrHotLunch wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:13 pm
Earlier this year, I won the lottery. Literally. I won about 1.2M (after taxes). This is life-changing. My wife and I already had about 140k in retirement savings previous to winning. We max out our 401k and 403b, respectively.

Congratulations on the win! Treat it like an inheritance.

Why? Once the parents have passed and given one an inheritance, or the lottery has been won - it ain't gonna happen again. So treat them the same - with great care.

And congrats on having set aside $140K from your salaries up to this point in your 401k and 403b. Absolutely keep contributing the $18K max to each from your salaries each and every year to accumulate more wealth. It looks like with your combined salaries, pre-tax $18K retirement fund deductions, and exemptions for the children - you should be able to both max out a ROTH IRA as well which we would suggest.


I am just over 40 years old. We have 2 children who have about 10-15 years before College. I'd like to fund about 75-80% of their college education. I don't want to give them a "free ride", I'd like my kids to learn the value of money, and work for it.

Have you set up an education 529 fund for them yet? If not, it might be time to do that. Nothing wrong with having them work some part-time jobs in high school and college to contribute and learn the value of a hard earned buck.

I have about 215k in "bad debt" (credit cards, a 401k loan, car loans, student loans, etc.). My credit score is horrific. I'd like to wipe out all debt ASAP, except for maybe one of the car loans which is at 0.9%.

Absolutely pay off the credit card debt, pay back the 401k loan (what was this money used for?), pay off the student loans, and the higher interest car loan. If it were us, we'd knock out the low-interest car loan while we were at it, but that's not a must at this point (just our preference). The others are a do it now must!

I have about 325k left on my mortgage on a house worth about 400k. I have 20+ years remaining on a 5/1 ARM that's at 3.25% currently. So, all told, I have about 540k it TOTAL debt (215k as well as 325k in mortgage) I'm not sure if I should pay it all off, refinance at a lower rate, pay a large portion of it off, etc. I'm not sure if it's worth letting the money work for me in the market, or the satisfaction of having almost zero debt. My risk tolerance is moderately high (gambling paid off, after all, haha). I'm cool with a 80/20 allocation in stocks/bonds.

What year are you in the 5/1 ARM? Refinancing is going to cost a few thousand, and the 3.25% is a good rate as it is. If you do, wait to refinance until once you pay off all of your bad debt as your credit rating will look a heck of a lot better than it currently looks. :mrgreen: That being said, we don't see a need to pay off the mortgage with your windfall. Were you thinking of upping your equity in a refinance to help lower payments?

Asset Allocation: Even with a higher risk tolerance, 80/20 is probably about as aggressive as one would want in economic expansions for your age. You may feel different during an economic contraction. :shock:


I like my co-workers and plan to remain at my job for awhile. I make about 130k/year, and my wife makes about 62k/year. I would like to cut back a little, maybe closer to 100k per year. While I like my co-workers and workplace, I hate my job field, and I want to retire ASAP. My field is soul-crushing. My wife feels the same way. We'd like to get out within 10 years. I think retiring at 50-52 is doable. I've even considered investing in some schooling for a job I might enjoy a little better, in a field I'm passionate about, which pays next to nothing, but that would delay retirement and my real "dream" of doing absolutely nothing. I'd love to "snowbird it" once the kids are out of the house. Keep our house in the northeast, and grab a retirement home somewhere warm.

It's nice to have dreams, wants, and wishes for the future.

Is FIRE at age 50-52 even a possibility? You mentioned your 401k/403b balances. However, you didn't mention what you have invested at Edward Jones in terms of other investments. That would be critical to know what you had there before the $1.2M lottery windfall to get an idea of if the 50-52 FIRE is doable, or not.

In the meantime, the reality is that you've got two children, a house with debt, transportation, food, and insurance to pay for month in and month out. That's an excellent dual-income salary that when combined, puts your household income in the top 7% in the nation! It would be terribly hard to walk away from that!


http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/inco ... index.html

As everyone has pointed out in this thread - spending needs to be brought under control so you don't run into the same old credit card debt (you must pay it off in full every month); don't borrow from your 401k again, pay cash for cars, save for the children's education, etc...all while resetting your lifestyle so you are not living beyond your means. Even with the windfall, this lifestyle reset needs to be done. In fact, it often takes a windfall of an inheritance, a settlement, or in your case - a lottery win before people take the opportunity to evaluate their financial well being from a new point of view. You've been given this opportunity and it appears are looking at it with a new point of view. Kudos for doing that! Paying off the "bad" debt as mentioned above will free up some cash flow. Continue to max out the pre-tax retirement plans at work for both of you.


I don't need any "major" purchases. Some upgrades to the house, finish the basement, maybe a new truck in a year or two, maybe a generator, solar panels, that's about it. I won the lottery, so I need to enjoy it a little - I'd like to blow a few grand on just "fun" - a vacation, a new TV, a kegerator, 2 chicks at the same time, you name it :). After all, I won the lottery. It's unreal. I want to enjoy it. I don't need an elaborate lifestyle, just enough to go out to eat when I want, take a small vacation here and there, and relax. And drink.

Understood. After knocking out the bad debt, contributing to your children's education fund - a small portion of the windfall that you and your wife agree on that are cost-effective uses of the money at this time should be discussed. Home upgrades, finishing a basement, new truck, generator, solar panels, vacation, new TV all adds up rather quickly and could easily be $100K+. Just make sure you discuss it as a "team" and are realistic about the best way to use a percentage - or small portion - of the windfall. Going out to eat when you want can quickly lead to a costly leak in the finances. Best to reign that in from "when you want" and maybe agree on something like once a week to save money. A family of 4 going out to eat "when they want" is not favorable to accumulating more wealth from your income.

Even with the windfall, start to separate needs from wants. The wants list will be dauntingly long, but the needs list should always take priority.


I immediately began researching what to do. I got a will, power of attorney, etc. I'm hiring an accountant. Our current financial advisor, while very nice, is through Edward Jones. I've read a little on Bogleheads and their investment books/advice in the past few weeks to know that I'd like to work with Vanguard wherever possible and embrace indexing strategy. My wife is adamant about keeping a financial advisor, and she likes our current one. She feels this is too complicated of a situation and wants it in the hands of a professional. I'm not keen on paying all those fees for managed funds. Everything I've read in the last 2-3 weeks has really steered me towards the Boglehead's priciples.

Show this graphic to your wife and just how much paying the AUM fee and a high ER fee for funds can rob you of your returns over the years. No doubt that with the AUM fee at Edward Jones (probably 1%, plus funds with fees of 1% or more - you would be paying around 2%+ per year for a service that is not needed). What's that going to cost you in the long run?

Take a look...


http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/twopercentrule.html

ImageFees Do Matter!

Your fees at Ed Jones would be equivalent to the third row. Doing it DIY with low cost funds at Vanguard would be the top row. See the difference? You would have to save nearly twice as much over the decades to account for those dang fees. Show this to your wife!!!

My current plan of action:
-Pay off all debt excluding any loan/mortage 3.5% or lower, and try to refi the mortgage into 7-10 years.
I'm confused about what my new income this year means for contribution amounts to Roth IRA's, etc., I'd like to max all of that out.
-Move as much as I can to Vanguard without the wife complaining
-Acquire a younger, more attractive wife if my wife keeps complaining ;)

I need advice, everyone. How can I make it easier for these dreams to come true? These winnings are a complete life changing "reset" button for me. I've been given a blessing, and I need to make it count. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Have frank discussions with your wife so that you both are in agreement. She also needs to learn about the high costs of fees - be it from a portfolio advisor or a mutual fund/ETF and what it can do to your returns. As others pointed out, if a portfolio advisor is really an agreed upon must - they are much less expensive at Vanguard. Edward Jones - in spite of how nice the handshake feels, or how nice the smile seems - is not a fiscally wise choice due to the high fees. There are gobs and gobs of threads here at BH to let you know that wheel has already been invented and experienced by too many not to heed the advice to get out of the Edward Jones umbrella ASAP.

Yes, you have been blessed with this windfall, and both owe it to yourselves not to muck it up. Use it as an opportunity to really learn all you can about budgets, investments, diversification, asset allocation, debt, living within your means and accumulating wealth for your wishes, wants, dreams. You have excellent salaries and are still young enough to learn to get things under control, and move forward with your family in a much better fiscal situation. Learn from the past mistakes, and enjoy the knowledge that will prevent you from repeating them.
Last edited by CyclingDuo on Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by oldcomputerguy » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:38 am

Goal33 wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:21 pm
My advise is to pay off all debt including the mortgage. Fire your financial advisor and then come back here for advise with your updated situation.
^^^ This. Definitely.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:40 am

Recognize that you are in dire financial straits. How can I say that when you just hit it big?

- You earn 4 times the average income of a family of 4
- You have enormous debt
- You buy lottery tickets (which are a voluntary tax, I doubt this was your first ever ticket)
- Statistics: Because of typical behavior of lottery ticket buyers, most are bankrupt within 7 years of winning

Holy Cow, I'm harsh, eh?

What do I think you should do?

- Take the winnings as an annuity, not a lump sum. Why? You've shown you don't handle money well. Getting smaller portions and taking your time to put those small portions where they can help most will be a far better way to extend the benefit of this winning than taking the lump sum and watching it disappear. If you can't take it as an annuity, immediately buy an SPIA (single premium immediate annuity) so you can start taking annual payments.
- Attend financial planning workshops and seminars. Financial Peace comes to mind. While I think the investing advice from them is horrible, the "get yourself out of debt mindset" parts are great and they're what you need. Maybe Ric Edelman's seminars. While I don't support his high AUM model, in your case, paying 1% to him is better than you going on your own and losing it all.
- Pay off bad debt. You blew this money, now you owe it. It'll take some years of annuity payments to do this, but just do it.
- Keep your job. Max your 401k and Roth. Buy the maximum available for US Savings bonds. Fund 529's. Boy....that sounds like a lot of money being squirreled away. Yah, that's the idea. Not getting your hands on it is a good thing for your future.
- Stop buying lottery tickets. Have you ever seen a state lose? Ever? I know in mine (Massachusetts...the most successful lottery in the country), when too many winning numbers came up, a clause was executed where the prizes were all reduced. The state won, lottery ticket buyers all lose.
- Learn the 4% rule. You're talking about retirement in 10 years. Rough numbers: with the winnings as lump sum, say $500k at 4%, that would give you $20k a year. That's 10% of what you and your wife currently make. Don't look at the big millions number. It's not so big when it has to last for 30 years of retirement.
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SGM
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by SGM » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:53 am

OP has shown no discipline in the past. If he takes a lump sum pay off all the debt and learn to live within your means. If the OP does not intend to pay off the debt and cannot change his ways then an annuity would be a safer bet. Get rid of your financial advisor.

Iliketoridemybike
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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:57 am

There a drhotlunch on Twitter.
No mention of winning the lottery there.

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Re: I won the Lottery. Need sound advice.

Post by aristotelian » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:58 am

FIREchief wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:35 am
simmias wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:16 am
As someone mentioned earlier, the "two chicks" quote was definitely a reference to Office Space. It sounds like some of you need to drop whatever you're doing and watch it.
Probably not going to happen. Checking IMDB reveals "A comedy from Mike Judge, creator of "Beavis and Butt-head" and co-creator "King of the Hill"

Life is simply too short for this sort of nonsense.
Your intuition is wrong. Office Space is a fantastic movie. Probably the best ever satire/critique of corporate 9-to-5 culture. Major inspiration to anyone into ER. Judge also created the HBO comedy Silicon Valley, which is also quite good.

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