STUART, Fla. - $550 million is a sum so mind-boggling, it's hard to imagine what anyone couldn't do with that kind of money.
Ed Becker said he would relax and "take it easy." Yvette Marshall said she would begin "a whole new life." Carl Warzybok explained, "My wife and I's dream is to take care of the less fortunate." Melissa Stratton, a Treasure Coast parent, said she would make sure her children were set. She said, "I wouldn't go overboard, no mansions or anything."
Although the odds of winning POWERBALL are 1 in 175,000,000, pretend you're the winner. Daniel Todzia, a certified financial planner, said it's more than just about the big number. He said, "You have to realize your financial problems have just started."
Todzia said the key is to get a trusted team in place to manage your newfound wealth.
"Someone who's familiar with taxes, trusts, estates and asset protection," he said. "There are law firms that have departments in that kind of area."
Todzia said he's had three lottery-winning clients before, who unfortunately came to him when their money was already running dry.
"It's simply because they're not used to handling those sums of money, and they don't plan ahead for it," he explained.
Because, as Todzia said, once you've bought something big, like a car, boat, or house, that doesn't mean the payments stop. He remembered one client whose six figure annual payments just weren't enough.
"It sounds like a lot of money, but there's monthly payments, there's maintenance, there's a few other things," he said.