U.S. NEWS
10/19/2018 02:15 pm ET

Mega Millions Jackpot Hits Record $1 Billion

The chances of winning the jackpot are roughly 1 in 303 million.

The Mega Millions jackpot has surged to a record $1 billion ahead of Friday night’s drawing.

The jackpot rose from $868 million on Wednesday to $970 million on Thursday, finally reaching $1 billion on Friday ― the largest Mega Millions prize ever, and the country’s second-highest on record. There was a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot in 2016.

The winning lottery number will be drawn at 11 p.m. Eastern time Friday and has a cash option of $565 million.

The jackpot has swelled so much due to the fact that a prize hasn’t been paid out since July, when a group of 11 Wells Fargo employees in California shared a $543 million winning.

The chances of winning the jackpot are roughly 1 in 303 million.

Much has been written about the negative consequences that can come from being one of the lucky few.

“So many of them wind up unhappy or wind up broke. People have had terrible things happen,” Don McNay, a financial consultant who works with lottery winners, told Time in 2016. “People commit suicide. People run though their money. Easy comes, easy goes. They go through divorce or people die.”

Paul Golden, a spokesman for the National Endowment for Financial Education, said winners often overestimate the positive effect a jackpot will have on their lives.

“When you come into a large sum of money, particularly when you’re looking at a near-1 billion payout, there’s this idea that I have a great sense of security, and the idea that I will never have to worry about money again,” Golden told NBC News. “In fact, it’s completely the opposite. You have to worry about money more than ever before.”

Financial experts say lottery winners often act impulsively, don’t manage their money well and can be preyed upon by people who want to take advantage of their sudden wealth. 

A New Hampshire judge recently ruled that a woman who had won the $560 million Powerball jackpot could remain anonymous, a route some winners take to protect themselves from potential fraudsters.

Financial experts also advise winners not to make any sudden, impulsive investments and to set money aside for taxes because, yes, lottery winnings are subject to income taxes.

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