The Golden Ticket

With a record prize of $20.4 billion dollars, those who purchased a Powerball ticket felt that the 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning was worth it.

On Nov. 9, a ticket sold in Altadena, California, presented the five lucky numbers and the Powerball. This winner will walk away with the largest lottery prize in history.

This record lottery prize began at $20 million in August and grew to $2.04 billion. This number came from 40 consecutive missed drawings, according to The Associated Press.

The California resident and winner has the option to claim a one-time cash prize or receive an annuity paid annually over 29 years.

“Most Jackpot winners take their prize’s lump sum one-time payment vs. annuity option. For the lump sum option, the amount paid would be about one-half of the Jackpot. Income taxes on the winnings are all paid at once. The winners can enjoy their prizes immediately,” said Prof. Ralph Lim, a professor of finance and economics at Sacred Heart University.

The winner will not necessarily gain anything from choosing the annuity option.

“For the annuity option, the winnings are spread out over 29 years, but the total prize would equate to the Jackpot value. Income taxes would be paid in the year of prize payment,” said Lim.

“If I won, I would choose the annuity option,” said sophomore Jordyn Imbrogno. “I wouldn’t want to spend all of the money at once, and this would ensure I wouldn’t be able to.”

With this amount of money, the winner will have some choices to make when it comes to deciding how to spend it.

“I would put some money everywhere. I would invest some, then pay for college,” said Imbrogno. “I would then buy a house, a car and go on trips. I would specifically choose to go to Italy.”

Other students had more specific ideas on what they would put the jackpot towards.

“My first priority would be to allocate money to finish college and graduate school,” said junior Abigail Wilk. “When I graduate, I would then want to take time off to travel. After I did that, I would start a business that had to do with dogs. Whether I started a daycare or a dog-breeding farm, I would choose to do something with them. Dogs have always been a passion of mine.”

One Powerball ticket only costs two dollars, which leads people to believe that even with small odds, it is worth the investment.

“I pay attention to the lottery in general and I like to get lottery tickets sometimes just to see if I will win,” said junior Isabella Shippole. “I enjoy playing more when the price gets high.”

A large Powerball jackpot also generates attention from the public, causing the number to grow more.

“Due to the publicity and widespread interest, more players bought Powerball tickets to result in a bump up in the Jackpot,” said Lim.

“I play the lottery every once in a while because my grandfather is always interested,” said Wilk. “However, I pay attention to the lottery myself when the large jackpots gain attention.”

The average person makes $2.7 million total throughout their lifetime, according to Reader’s Digest. This is less than one percent of the Powerball prize.

“$20.4 billion is more money than I will likely ever make in my career, so I would take the 1 in 292 million chance just to see if I would be the one to win. I think it is worth trying,” said Shippole.

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