PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- The Powerball jackpot has reached a record $550 million, and people across Rhode Island and the United States have been buying up tickets.
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The first thing you should do when you buy a ticket is sign the back, to assure that nobody else can claim the ticket if miraculously it matches all six numbers.
If you do win and suddenly come into half a billion dollars, it can send your world into a spin, and if you're not careful, it's very possible to lose it.
Don Sowa has been building financial futures for years, and he tells us it's possible to lose the big jackpot if you're don't properly plan.
He says to reach out to trusted advisors. If you don't have any, go with a reputable firm that deals with wealth management.
"The first thing is to set up a plan and that's why you bring the professional team in. 'what's the money for, what are your goals?'," said Sowa. "The answer depends highly on your age."
The lottery looks forward to the publicity in handing over the giant check, but Sowa advises, just like Rhode Island's last big winner Louise White did , take time to build your advising team before you claim your prize. Also, realize that along with the blessing this money can bring, there is a downfall the comes with a windfall of cash.
"It's amazing how people around you change," Sowa added. "They will be bombarded, family members will call, friends, neighbors, they believe this is money you simply don't need and it's money you haven't earned."
Once you step forward, experts suggest you change your phone number and avoid making big impulse buys until you have mapped out a financial path.
We've also learned that a jackpot winner won't be the only one benefiting from the Powerball prize. The 42 states that participate in the game have raked in a total of 61 billion dollars.
The drawing can be viewed live only on WPRI 12 at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday.
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