Mega Millions Jackpot Climbs to $654 Million

 

There weren't any winning lottery tickets sold for the Mega Millions drawing Friday night, which means the jackpot has climbed to $654 million - only $2 million short of a record the game set in 2012. 

No tickets matched all six numbers drawn Friday night for the $548 jackpot, lottery officials said. The numbers drawn were 4, 24, 46, 61, 70 and Mega Ball 7. 

If you want to get in on (not) winning the jackpot, a ticket costs $2 and the next drawing happens on Tuesday. Lotto officials say the $654 million estimated jackpot would the fourth largest lottery prize in U.S. history. 

While the odds aren't great on you winning on Tuesday, (the odds of matching all six numbers and winning the jackpot are one in 302.5 million), experts say there are few things you should immediately do if you do hit the jackpot.

1. Don't rush to claim your winnings

Experts say your best bet is to hang back after discovering your good fortune and wait. For Mega Millions players, winners get anywhere from three to six months, or a year, to claim their prize (depending on where their ticket was purchased). 

This is the time to get your ducks in a row, experts say, by assembling a team of experienced professionals who can help you manage your unexpected windfall. That includes people like an attorney, a financial planner, a tax adviser and an insurance agent. 

2. Get your ticket to a safe place

While signing your ticket is a good idea in case you're ever separated from your ticket, it could hinder your ability to sheild your identity if you win. A handful of states allow prize winners to claim their prize anonymously, but other states require the winner's name to be published. 

This is where having an experienced attorney on your side can really help. 

3. Keep quiet about your winnings

The first instinct for anyone who wants to celebrate their good fortune is tell everyone they know (sometimes, especially all the people you dislike). But, experts say the fewer people who know about your big win, the better. Avoiding the media and "long-lost relatives" will be easier the fewer the number of people who know about the money. 


Photo: Getty Images

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