As the Mega Millions jackpot jumps even closer to a record level, we started wondering how you could spend that to make the biggest impact.
CLEVELAND - Friday's Mega Millions drawing will be huge and Clevelanders were lining up with the rest of the lottery faithful around the country to get their chance to strike it rich.
The regulars were busy around town marking their cards, handing over their cash and checking out handfuls of what they hope could be THE winning ticket.
Downtown, at Perk Plaza, Progressive Insurance employees handed out free lottery tickets as part of their "pay it forward" ad campaign. A total of 500 tickets were distributed to anybody walking by. The giveaway began slowly, but as workers in the surrounding office buildings got word, they filed out to the plaza to get their free tickets.
The $640 million-plus jackpot is irresistible even to non-players like Chris Ortiz.
"I haven't played in years, son. Now that it's at half a billion dollars, it's worth playing."
Financial planner Jim Lineweaver, CFP, suggests winners first step back and collect themselves before they try to collect their winnings.
"You want to look at the financial, tax and legal side of it and the first thing you have to address is the legal because the last thing you want to do is just run and get this money, and then your name's on the front page of the paper and then people are going to be coming out of the woodwork."
Many lottery winners are less prepared to deal with the changes in their personal lives because of a big win than they are dealing with the financial changes. Psychologist Dr. Ellen Casper suggests a team approach to manage your new life as well as your new wealth.
"The financial advisor should be part of the team, an experienced psychologist should be part of the team, maybe there's a trusted family member or friend who should be part of the team."
For now, lottery players are more concerned with just getting that Mega Millions winning ticket. Dealing with new found riches is a problem that we all would be happy to have.
Mega Millions Stories
From buying a piece of a media company to helping people survive natural disasters, here are six ways to spend the current Mega Millions jackpot.
It is the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, trailing only a $656 million jackpot won in March 2012, and the fifth largest lottery jackpot of any kind in U.S. history.
The holder of a winning $250,000 Mega Millions ticket sold May 10 has claimed the prize in The Three Blind Mice Trust.
A trust has claimed a $41 million prize for a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket bought at a Westlake store in March.
A $1 million Mega Million auto lotto jackpot is claimed in Mentor.