All at once or incremental?: Financial expert weighs options for winner of the $1.58 billion jackpot

NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. — The winner of the $1.58 billion Mega Millions Jackpot bought their ticket at a Publix grocery in Neptune Beach.


Now, the lucky winner or winners will have some tough decisions to make.

Neptune Beach residents are sharing a little piece of the excitement surrounding the sale of the $1.58 billion ticket at their local Publix.

Many are wondering, what they would do if they’d been the one to buy the Jackpot winner.

Specifically, would they take the whole pot now or spread out the earnings over 30 years?

“I would definitely take it all at once. I would get a plan, I would get a couple of good vacations going, I would have my family set up, my kids set up,” said Amberlee Hewett.

“I might not be alive in 30 years, so I’m taking it all at once,” said Michael Morris.

Financial educator Barbara Tilka with WealthWave told Action News Jax taking the lump-sum payment isn’t always a good idea.

“Unfortunately, lump sum causes a lot of tax problems that people don’t realize and they also have all sorts of friends and family that come out of the woodwork and unfortunately run through it very quickly,” said Tilka.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

Taking the annual payouts over 30 years also gets you more money overall.

After taxes, the lumpsum would total a little less than $500 million, while the annual payments would put more than a billion dollars in your pocket after taxes.

But Tilka advised any winner should consult with tax and financial advisors before making any big decisions on how to spend their earnings.

“Just be really careful to find someone that you trust. That knows what they’re doing and not listen to all sorts of so-called experts, but really understand money concepts before you do anything,” said Tilka.

In the event the winning ticket was purchased on behalf of a lottery pool or group of individuals, Tilka advised attorneys might need to get involved to navigate how the money would be split up.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.