With Mega Millions Jackpot At $166 Million, Here’s Advice For A Winner From Someone Who’s Been There

The Mega Millions jackpot is reaching dizzying heights, now that the nationwide lottery game has seen 14 straight drawings with no big winner. If that winnerless streak ends on Tuesday, whoever is lucky enough to match all six Mega Millions numbers will walk away with a payout of up to $166 million.

That total would come spread over 30 annual installments, and does not include taxes, of course. Still, who’s counting? By any estimation, the Mega Millions jackpot will be the second largest since the March 18 $400 million payout, which was the 7th-largest lottery prize in United States history.

If no one hits the jackpot in Tuesday’s Mega Millions lottery the top prize next Friday will almost certainly top the $180 million given away on August 22, which was the last time anyone won Mega Millions — and the second biggest jackpot of the year.

So, are you ready to win the big jackpot? To get you prepared, here is some advice from someone who has been there.

Solomon Jackson of Columbia, South Carolina won a $259.9 million jackpot in the Powerball lottery back in 2009, taking his winnings as a single cash payout that totaled about $130 million.The pastor, who retired from his job at the state’s Department of Revenue, says that the the first priority of any mew lottery winner is to keep your guard up against con artists.

“People that come to you with an investment that sounds too good to be true, it’s false,” he said in an interview last year. “I have learned to expect everything and deal with anything.”

But it’s not only professional criminals who are likely to see you as a target. Friends, even family members — especially those who may be experiencing financial difficulties — often see new lottery multimillionaires as human ATM machines.

Even those who Jackson says he helped out only end up wanting more, often coming back to him in tears for additional cash, he said.

The pressure can get to him, Jackson said, so though he never moved out of his home, he did buy a second house in a location he never reveals, where he can go to get away from it all when the strains of life as lottery millionaire wear on his nerves.

Jackson suggests that new lottery winners check into a hotel somewhere without telling anyone occasionally, just to get what will be some much-needed rest.

Friday’s Mega Millions drawing still saw more than $5 million in prize money given away. Here were Friday’s winning numbers:

232355059 Mega Ball 3

Two tickets, one in California and one in Ohio, matched the first five numbers only on Friday, to win a $1 million second prize.