Lotteries, Chinese space junk, and long odds

Friday, March 30, 2018

OK, so your chance of winning the $502 million Mega Millions jackpot tonight is roughly one in a billion — 302,575,350, officially.

But what if you did win?

It has happened.

Back in 2006, eight Nebraska workers at ConAgra’s ham processing plant shared a similar fortune when they pitched in to buy a Powerball ticket that turned out to be worth $365 million.

When the Lincoln Journal Star caught up with the winners 10 years later, there were few surprises — generous donations, domestic issues — the kinds of things any eight people might experience, magnified by the amount of money at their disposal.

But what if YOU win?

People who have experienced big windfalls, or know about handling them, have some advice.

* Don’t do anything right away. wait for the emotional dust to settle, and take time to plan.

* Keep a low profile, stay off social media and change your phone number.

* Learn to say no to family and “friends,” and assemble a team of advisers you trust — an estate planning attorney, a reliable accountant, insurance agent and financial adviser — at least one of each.

* Develop a healthy skepticism about “investment opportunities” and charitable donations.

The above advice is probably moot, of course — remember those 302-million-to-one odds?

Speaking of long odds, a derelict Chinese space station is expected to re-enter the atmosphere sometime this weekend, and Southwest Nebraska is right under its flight path.

Not to worry; they say there are trillion-to-one odds of being struck by a piece of space junk.

But what are the odds of winning the lottery AND getting struck by a falling satellite?

If you do happen to win the Mega Millions, we suggest you find a safe bunker in which to spend the rest of the weekend.

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