Robert Brent holds up the Powerball tickets he purchased as customers line up to buy theirs at a convenience store Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. The powerball jackpot is up over $500 million for Wednesday's drawing. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
The Real Powerball Question: Take Lump Sum or Installments?
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The $500 million question is not what the winning numbers will be in tonight's Powerball drawing, rather do you take the lump sum or the installments if you win.
"By taking the lump sum, you're in control of your own destiny," says John Longhino, a CPA and registered financial consultant with Spectrum Wealth Management. "In the tax environment we're in, our tax rates are the lowest they've been in the past 50 years, maxing out at 35 percent. With the fiscal cliff looming, those rates could jump to 50 percent, taking out more of the money with each installment."
That's not the only reason to take the lump sum says Longhino. "By taking the lump sum, it allows to do a lot of estate planning. You can set up trusts, gifts, charitable contributions. When you take the installments, those options don't exist," explains Longhino.
Longhino adds there's another challenge to the installment issue. "The installment method depends on life expectancy, your future health, and your demands on the money in the future," says Longhino.