Lottery win means time to celebrate, plan

  • 1 of 1--Lottery winner's house at 5355 Pressley Road, Santa Rosa. May 6, 2008. The Press Democrat / Jeff Kan Lee

So you've won the lottery, told your boss to shove it and jetted off to a tropical paradise to begin a life of leisure.

Now what?

Buying a new house, helping family or donating to charity are among the top 10 things people say they will do next, according to California lottery officials.

But wealth advisers say the smartest move is to wait. At least for a few months.

Blowing even $10 or $20 million is not as hard as it seems.

"Take a cruise, throw a party or do whatever," said Irwin Rothenberg, managing partner of Santa Rosa-based Wealth Management Consultants, who has counseled several big jackpot winners. "The most important thing is don't jump into investing it right away. Sit down and plan. Put the money away for a few months."

Beating 1 in 41 million odds to collect Wednesday's SuperLotto Plus jackpot of $25 million is the first step.

It's not unheard of, though. Sixteen Sonoma County residents have become millionaires in the drawing since 1986. In February, Elba Escamilla of Petaluma won an $80 million SuperLotto jackpot, the biggest ever on the North Coast.

The 48-year-old owner of a cleaning business said she didn't have big plans. After announcing the windfall, she said she'd likely take the family out to dinner and spring for a Hawaiian vacation.

"We don't want to get carried away because we're humble people," she said in a written statement from the lottery.

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