Former ‘Shark Tank’ judge offers advice to Chicopee lottery winnerAn entrepreneur who created the “As Seen on TV” nameplate, Harrington is on the board of LottoGopher.com, a website where people can order custom lottery tickets instead of purchasing them from a store. Harrington thinks that qualifies him to mentor the Powerball winner.
Before we knew that Mavis Wanczyk, the 53-year-old woman from right down the road in Chicopee, was the lucky winner of the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot, we spoke to Kevin Harrington, one of the original judges on the TV show “Shark Tank,” to see what he’d tell the instant millionaire.
An entrepreneur who created the “As Seen on TV” nameplate, Harrington is on the board of LottoGopher.com, a website where people can order custom lottery tickets instead of purchasing them from a store. Harrington thinks that qualifies him to mentor the Powerball winner.
Here’s his advice:
1. Keep a low profile
“Keep it private as much as you can,” Harrington said. “You don’t need to go out at the top of the mountain and yell all about it.” Lottery winners receive a lot of attention, but Harrington said it’s best to lay low and start crafting a plan for what to do with the money.
2. Gather a team of experts
Powerball is a of money, and it’s important to be prepared for the big decisions that come with it. Harrington said it’s “vital” to work with lawyers, financial advisers, investors, consultant companies, and public relations experts who are used to working with individuals with high net worths to protect your interests: “[E]veryone from the people you went to school with . . . to all the relatives, some of which you don’t remember you had, will be contacting you for some of their needs.”
Harrington has one golden rule: You control the money. Lottery winners can choose between an immediate cash payout or an annuity over 29 years. Harrington says take the cash — it’s the best way to avoid the risk of mismanagement on others’ parts (or if the lottery becomes low on funds in the future) and gives you more opportunities for investment sooner.
4. Invest wisely
Safe, government-backed investments are a good way to go, Harrington said. Other high-growth stocks that are historically safe, like Apple and Amazon, could be worthwhile investments, too.
5. Spend a little
“Splurge a little bit,” Harrington said. Buy that car you’ve always wanted, or buy your dream house. Give to charities you care about. Saving, investing, and sharing is a good long-term motto, according to Harrington.
The worst thing a lottery winner can do is give in to people who are “sucking the money out of you,” Harrington says. It’s easy to spend, and to want to give to others, but it’s best for a winner to focus on their family’s livelihood, avoid rash decisions, and make informed investments with a group of experts.
“Historically, there have been issues with many winners being able to manage and control the long-term aspects of [the money] and some have made some poor decisions, so I believe that it’s important that the winner gets the right people to advise them,” Harrington said.
By Kaitlyn Locke