Experts break down risks, rewards of winning lottery

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Winning the record-breaking $550million Powerball Jackpot lottery{}would change anyone's life and everyone believed they had a chance.

"I'm going to win! I'm going to win tonight," said Mary Ellen Franklin of Mount Pleasant.

And everyone had a plan for what they would do with their fortune.

"My charitable contribution is the Miami Project to cure paralysis. I'm going to cry. That's where I'll be giving my money. My brother is in a wheelchair. He's a quadriplegic," Franklin said.

"I'd probably pay off some lingering bills. Take me and my girlfriend on a trip," Robert Jamerson said.

But ticket buyer Marina Weathers knew the risks.

"This would be a very large amount of money so you'd have to figure out how to keep it," she said.

Experts said she was{}on the right track.

Certified Financial Planner Nathan Straus said lottery winners should figure out their spending goals. They may include family, school or charities. Then, leave the rest for fun, he said.

"Before they spend that very first dime, we build that plan," Straus said.{}"That plan puts parameters around what should happen with that money upon receipt to do with taxes and to make sure they're doing everything correctly so they don't end up like 35 percent of lottery owners who are bankrupt after 10 years."

Odds are against it, but gamblers play to win. And if they do, Straus said to get{}a team including a financial planner, accountant and lawyer.

Another tip: don't put it all in one bank, he said.

"If you put millions of dollars in one institution and that institution goes under, what recourse do you have? We do recommend spreading those resources out," Straus said.

He said letting yourself go is okay. But, you may want to claim it anonymously.

"I'm sure everyone's going to come out of the woodwork, like friends and family, and have a sad story," Franklin said.

"I probably have a lot of old girlfriends calling me back and I don't feel like that aggravation," Jamerson said.{}"I broke with them for a reason. I hope they're listening! You get nothing!"

The Powerball Jackpot{}drawing is Wednesday at 11 p.m. Buyers have until 9:59 p.m. to get tickets.