Would You Trade Your Anonymity For $500 Million Dollars? (This Woman May Not)

So, you just checked your Powerball ticket against the winning numbers in the latest $560 million dollar lotto – and guess what?

You’ve won!

The only catch: You have to go public.

This is what currently faces a New Hampshire woman who just won, one of the biggest Powerball jackpots in history.

Only, she wishes to remain anonymous.

According to lotto rules, this isn’t allowed:

New Hampshire lottery rules require the winner’s name, town and amount won be available for public information, in accordance with open-records laws. The state allows people to form an anonymous trust, NewHampshire.com reported, but it’s a moot point for the woman — she’d already signed her name and altering the signature would nullify the ticket.

So this newly minted millionaire is taking the issue to court to see if she can protect her anonymity.

It’s not likely she’ll win.

On one side of the case are lottery officials who say the integrity of the games depends on the public identification of its winners as a protection against fraud and malfeasance. A local woman holding up a giant check while cameras flash and reporters scrawl also happens to be a powerful marketing tool.

On the other side is a woman suddenly faced with a life-changing stroke of luck who, court documents say, wishes to live “far from the glare and misfortune that has often fallen upon other lottery winners.

Read how one professional golfer may end up with millions for not playing golf.

What would I do

And, this is one of the reasons why I don’t play the lottery (I mean, I buy scratch-offs every year for Christmas giveaways – but can’t remember the last time I purchased a lotto ticket).

If I did enter and won – I don’t think I could turn down that type of money just to protect my anonymity. (Can you remember that last big-time winners of the Powerball? I can’t).

Here’s my advice for this well-meaning lady – and to help protect her anonymity.

  1. Collect your cash.
  2. Give a large chunk of it away.
  3. Invest another large chunk (now you don’t have much “on-hand”)
  4. Move.

More than likely, her biggest issues are going to come from family, friends and acquaintances who know her. Plus the occasional stranger writing her for something to spare / or the odd-person knocking on her door.

She can probably avoid the latter by relocating.

Why she is wise

I will give it to her – I don’t know many other winners who have been this thoughtful after they just came into such a large sum of money.

She must be a wise woman to contemplate the ramifications of this win and how it is going to affect her life. Other winners would do well to emulate.

What would you do?

I sometimes correlate money (and the pursuit of it, at all costs) with Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. He became so enthralled with the ring that it was his undoing.

Unless you are a well-grounded individual (and even then) I find it hard that someone may not fall prey to money-worship in this instance. This amount of money will provide all your material needs – forever.

The Bible warns all of us:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Most of us would love to come into this type of money. However, I am not sure it would be to our good, or our detriment.

What do you think?

Update 3/8/18: The winner is still battling over the right to keep her anonymity but is starting to receive some of her winnings. And, she’s donating a lot of it to charities.

Update 3/12/18: A judge ruled the winner can remain anonymous, saying “she would ‘be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and other unwanted communications'”. A victory for invasion of privacy.

Read Aaron’s review of Tello – a MVNO provider that helps him keep his cell phone bill under $12/month.

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6 comments

  1. Steveark says:

    I don’t see the problem, I’ve got a couple of friends that have more than $500 million in assets that they’ve earned as successful business men. They don’t have body guards, everyone knows they are incredibly wealthy and nobody acosts them for money. They are wonderful people and very generous with their time and wealth to help others. It isn’t becoming a celebrity that destroys lottery winners, it is their lack of wisdom, maturity and common sense to steward the money wisely. If this lady is grounded and mature the money poses no risk to her and great opportunities. If she lacks maturity and wisdom it will destroy her whether anyone knows her name or not.

    • Aaron says:

      Excellent point Steveark. Imagine the main issue lies that in the “whole world” will know about her / and want to seek her out. Now that she’s refused to go public – I think it could make matters worse for her (being there are so many stories about this now).

  2. Man, $560,000,000 though…that’s a lot of 0’s to pass up haha.

    I’d follow your advice. Take it, donate a lot of it (probably about half), invest a lot of it (probably about 49.9%) and spend the rest. I’d definitely move even though I love where we live. If nothing else I’d travel for a long period of time to just decompress.

    • Aaron says:

      Yeah, I think there are certainly ways to “get around” the anonymity issue – I mean one could do a lot of good w/ those funds.

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