Powerball jackpot at $500 million

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Are you ready to be California’s newest multi-millionaire? Cal Lotto just announced the Power Ball Lottery reached $500 million this morning. If you haven’t bought a ticket yet, there’s still time. Beware: the Powerball costs $2 per line, so five “quick-picks” will cost $10.

What would you do with the payout if you won? Figure it would be maybe $180 million after the state withholds a chunk because you’ve opted for the single, instant payment and then you have to pay taxes. They get you coming and going.

So, you get your big, fat check — direct deposited — and what’s first on the agenda? Do you buy the Maserati first, or the Ferrari? But you need a nice place to park those babies, so you have to look for suitable digs.

If Cher’s former home in Malibu is still on the market, it’s listing at $41 mil. You would have the added prestige of living above Dustin Hoffman. Or you can do what Cher did when she down-sized: buy a nice little place for under $5 mil in Beverly Hills. Get one of those homes with a cement pond.

You can probably afford just about anything in Holmby Hills, so become a neighbor of Hugh Hefner. We hear he throws great parties. Just about any area of Los Angeles will provide suitable accommodations for someone with seven or eight figures to burn on housing.

Lottoery1So you’ve got your dream home with a half dozen cars parked in the eight-car garage. Now what? You probably have family and friends crawling out of the woodwork, reminding you of all the good times you might have had.

Forbes suggests before you buy the house and the cars and everything else, follow these guidelines. The highlights: don’t buy the house and cars right away, wait six months — that’s a real buzzkill, but it’s sensible. Also, get a lawyer, tax accountant and investment advisor and require them to work together. Yes, you have to pay them, but it could save you millions in the long run. Face reality, just for a moment: none of us are smart enough to be a good lawyer, accountant and investment advisor.

Protect your assets, with trusts, LLC’s and other things like that; develop an asset protection strategy. That’s where the lawyer can be useful. Pay off all your debt. Don’t give creditors a reason to come knocking.

The biggest buzzkill: learn to live within a budget. If you can, live off the interest, not the principle. Most lottery winners not only go broke within five years, they end up declaring bankruptcy. And it isn’t the fun kind of bankruptcy afforded to people like Donald Trump, who walk away with millions. It’s the kind of bankruptcy that might leave you with a little condo in a part of town you said goodbye to just a few years earlier. And maybe a ten-year old Toyota because it’s too old for resale anyhow.

Learn to plan ahead and accordingly. The more money we get, the faster we are likely to spend it. Plan to live within that budget and stretch the chunk of lottery money so it lasts well beyond your remaining years on this earth.

And of course email the managing editor of LAPX so you can arrange to reward him for this really great advice.

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It’s either sad news or happy, depending on your perspective — there wasn’t a winner of the $500 million Powerball lottery Wednesday Night.

This means you’ll have another chance Saturday Night when the Powerball is expected to be over $700 million. The Cal Lotto website says $675 million, but with increased ticket sales between now and Saturday Night, it is likely to top that amount.

Important tips: you have a 1 in 292,201,338 chance of winning (there is more chance you will get hit by lightning), you have to purchase your tickets before 7 p.m. Pacific Time Saturday evening.

Photos by Tim Forkes