As of January 12, the Powerball jackpot is estimated to hit $1.4 billion - an $868 million cash value, according to the Powerball website.
If you beat the one in 292.2 million odds of winning the big prize, great for you. But that feat may be harder to achieve then even the most rosiest of optimists may imagine.
"That just shows the total randomness of Powerball," Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery, explained to NBC News earlier this week. "At our peak last night, we were selling more than $1.2 million in tickets every single minute."
But let's suspend reality for a moment and call you the winner of the $1.4 billion Powerball lottery.
Congratulations, billionaire (at least technically, from a pre-tax point of view). But now you have to manage all that wealth, and keep your sanity in check while the world descends upon you.
Don't take our word for it - but take the word of Mark Cuban, who found out he was a newly-minted billionaire while naked and checking his computer, according to a recent podcast Cuban did with James Altucher, an investor and author of the Choose Yourself.
"I was sitting in front of a computer, naked, hitting the refresh, because we were close and I was waiting until my net worth hit that billion when the stock price got to a certain point," Cuban said. "Then I kind of screamed and jumped around and then got dressed." Cuban's advice, in comments to
Cuban's best advice for the Powerball lottery winner, according to The Dallas Morning News, is to hire a tax attorney right away. He also advises not to opt for the lump sum - it's too tempting to squander the money faster.
"Tell all your friends and relatives 'no,'" Cuban added. "They will ask. Tell them no. If you are close to them, you already know who needs help and what they need. Feel free to help some people, but talk to your accountant before you do anything and remember this, no one needs $1 million for anything. No one needs $100,000 for anything. Anyone who asks is not your friend."
Other financial experts agree, and add some other tips to your lottery management experience. "First, sign your ticket," advises Winnie Sun, the managing director of Sun Group Wealth Partners in Orange County, Calif. "If you haven't already done so, make sure you sign the back of your ticket with a permanent marker."
Going dark if you win is strongly advised, too.
"Try to stay anonymous if your state allows," Sun adds. "Currently only six states allow winners to remain anonymous - Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina. Four more - Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont - allow winners to remain anonymous if they claim their winnings through a trust."
Before you cash in your ticket, create a checklist and start building your financial team. "Don't turn that ticket in until it's done," Sun says. "It's important to have people in place before the news vans arrive at your door."
Also, don't go shouting on any rooftops that you won the lottery. Instead, spend your energy planning for your financial future, says Scott Laue, a financial advisor with Savant Capital Management.
"Lay low in terms of communicating with your family, friends and the media until you get the master plan in order with the legal team and with accountants," Laue says. "Then, come up with a diversified portfolio that includes not only stocks and bonds, but is also diversified all across the globe. You will need international stocks and funds, in addition to domestic securities."
Lastly, remember that plenty of Americans win lotteries and wind up dead broke, anyway.
That's a good reminder from Martin Hurlburt, author of Yes, Money Can Make You Happy. Hurlburt lectures extensively on how money impacts people, with a focus on what he terms "sudden wealth syndrome" - when someone receives a large sum of money through a windfall.
"There are some unique challenges to managing sudden wealth - financial problems are not solved with money," he says, noting that 70% of lottery winners lose all their money.
"Making better choices is key but our choices tend to be driven by emotions and not logic," Hurlburt adds. "The impact of emotions is greatly increased with sudden wealth. Guilt, fear, happiness and being overwhelmed are typical. It's much harder than normal to make good choices with all that going on."
That's as true for lottery winners as it is for Americans who get a $3,000 windfall at work or from a tax refund. And it's good food for thought when seemingly the entire U.S. is thinking Powerball - and how $1.4 billion would change their lives forever, one way or another.