The Powerball Jackpot has hit $1.2 billion, the third biggest pot in the game’s history, since no big winner has been recorded for the past two draws.
The winner of the draw would have to choose between a lump sum payout worth $551.7 million or an annuitized prize of $1.2 billion.
The next Powerball drawing is Wednesday at 11 p.m. ET, and the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.
“Virtually everybody who wins the lottery picks the lump sum distribution,” said Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago-based lawyer who has represented several lottery winners. “And I think that’s a mistake.”
In many cases, the annuity is a better option because “the typical lottery winner doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to manage such a large sum so quickly,” he said.
“Flexibility and control over assets is a really good thing, but it’s not necessarily for everybody,” said certified financial planner and enrolled agent John Loyd, owner of The Wealth Planner in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Mega Millions jackpot is currently worth an estimated $315 million, and the odds of winning that grand prize is roughly 1 in 302 million.