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Want to win the lottery? Tips from experts who share their stories

The chances of winning the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes is 1 in 100 million. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot, 1 in 175 million; of scoring a Powerball jackpot, 1 in 195 million. Still, millions of Americans are undeterred, entering these and other lotteries, raffles and sweepstakes every day.

Winning comes with consequences, however. Winners who quit their job and run off to the nearest Porsche dealership could be in for a rude awakening. WalletPop spoke with Natalie Bostelman, Ric Wallace, Karen McHale, and Anthony Broccoli, four winners who said it's of utmost importance to take a deep breath, speak with an expert and do some financial planning once the winnings arrive. For more on these and other winners, tune into the third season premiere of TLC's The Lottery Changed My Life on August 15 at 10 p.m.

Natalie Bostelman
In 2007, Natalie Bostelman and her husband were working hard to keep their heads above water. She juggled several jobs, including working as an office assistant to an independent insurance broker, serving as an acting coach for children, bartending and working at a home decor store. He was a project manager at an engineering firm. Yet, over the years, the two had racked up a significant amount of debt.

"We would have qualified for those commercials you hear about drowning under credit card debt!" recalls the Grand Rapids, Ohio resident.

That all changed in 2008, when Natalie won the "$1 Million Dollar SuperPrize" from Publishers Clearing House. Although she took home only $250,000 after taxes, it was enough to get the couple back on their feet. They were able to pay off their debts, move out of their trailer and into a home he designed. They even socked some savings away.

"We wanted to change our mindset and not fall into those financial traps again of buying things we couldn't pay off immediately, over and over again," the 30-year-old explains. "I don't think we 'worry' about savings and whatnot, but we now know that it is very important to be responsible with our finances. I think I see it as an opportunity to improve my financial health and appreciate not having to worry as I did in the past."

It helped that she had clear-cut goals: to pay off their debt and build their dream home. They also assembled a team that consisted of a financial advisor and accountant to help them get there.

"Get a financial advisor you trust," says Bostelman. "Go to your local Better Business Bureau if no one can recommend one to you. Also, don't spend the money like you already have it. Figure out what your responsibilities are, including what you owe in taxes."

Bostelman is still working for the insurance broker and this year she became a goodwill ambassador for the sweepstakes company.

Ric Wallace
Ontario, Canada resident Ric Wallace and his wife had no plans to move even if their East London neighborhood was going to pot. They had put a lot of sweat equity into their small three-bedroom home. Yet, in 2004, when he won a dream home package worth more than $775,000 tax-free in swanky North Lambeth, it was "like a crane just lifted us up out of one life and into a whole different lifestyle," recalls the photographer.

The couple relocated and poured more than $11,000 into repairing their old home in order to put it on the market. But soon the new place was proving to be more than they could afford.

"When we lived in the old house in East London, we were paying under $3.83 a day in property taxes," he says. "When we left the dream home, the property taxes were around $20 a day. The last August in the dream home, we were trying to keep our lawn watered and the fish pond topped up, so we spent over $550 for water and electricity for that month alone. Ouch."

They lived in the 3,282-square foot dream home (pictured below) until January 2008, when they sold it for $550,000, tax-free according to Canadian law. Winning the dream home wasn't a total bust. Wallace wrote 21 Lucky Lottery Tips for Selecting, Playing and Winning Lotteries and is hard at work on another book about his experience in the house. He also designed and is marketing a lucky coin, the Lucky Squirrel Scratcher, an homage to the black squirrel pin that held his winning ticket.

But perhaps even more importantly, winning the dream home clarified who they could trust. "One person never came to the new house after many invites and even stopped talking to us," says Wallace, now 49. "Jealousy is a side effect of winning big in the lottery."

Other side effects include loss of privacy if you're not careful. Wallace recommends having a lawyer collect your winnings if the lottery allows it and make it payable to a trust. Another is to be careful about investments, making sure to seek expert advice because "the bigger the lottery win, the bigger the potential loss from making bad investments or decisions," he says. So write up a financial plan that includes paying off your debts and locking up the balance in a 90-day term deposit.

His biggest tip of all, however: to "learn to say 'no' sometimes."

Karen McHale
Karen McHale was just trying to help when she bought $100 worth of raffle tickets in December 2008. A family was having trouble selling their $1.2 million home in Edgewater, Maryland so they had decided to raffle the home off for charity and McHale wanted to help.

A month later, McHale was told she had won the home. "I was stunned," says McHale, a 48-year-old engineer in the waste/wastewater industry. "I live in Colorado and I now had a house in Maryland. I'd never even been to Maryland. The other thing was I didn't tell my husband that I had even bought the tickets so he was in shock, too."

Once the requests for media appearances died down, she and her husband decided to sell the 6,000 square-foot, five-bedroom home they had won. With the housing market in the cellar, they finally sold it nine months later to the Unity by the Bay church for $650,000.

"I won the house because I bought the ticket for a charity, and I sold it to another charity," says McHale. "It was a win-win for all involved."

Other winners: the IRS and the state of Maryland. After paying the taxes on the sale, McHale walked away with $200,000 in November 2009. It was just in the nick of time. She had been laid off as regional manager selling equipment to water/wastewater facilities.

Thanks to her winnings, McHale, a volunteer firefighter, has a new lease on life. She and her husband took $50,000 and bought a new truck and paid off some debts. The rest they saved.

She also started two charities, one called The Fire Station Buddies, to teach children 12 and under what to do during emergencies. The other charity's aim is to give away houses. Enter for $100 and write how winning a house will change your life, and Contest For Change awards the winner with a house that has been donated with the mortgage and taxes already paid.

"I am helping people who have lost everything due to the economy get back on their feet and get a second chance," she says. "People who are trying to sell their homes can put their houses in the contest and their mortgage will be paid off, even if they are upside down."

Anthony Broccoli
Anthony Broccoli has been lucky all his life. The owner of Brock's Collision Center & Auto Repair shop in Warwick, Rhode Island, plays the lottery a lot and he wins a lot. Last year alone, he had 1099s worth about $13,000 in winnings.

Still, he doesn't let his lucky streak go to his head. Even after winning a $1 million jackpot from the Rhode Island lottery in 2008, the 49 year old continues to work, as does his wife. His only splurge: a Camaro, after a year of thinking about it.

"Nothing changed," says Broccoli. "We went on like we didn't win the money. My kids' colleges are paid for but by the time you pay the taxes, it's not a lot."

Broccoli believes that if you can't pay for it, you shouldn't buy it. He also relies on advice from his accountant. As a winner, his returns get scrutinized by the IRS so he has to make sure he has all the proper paperwork, including invoices and receipts. "From watching TLC's show, The Lottery Changed My Life, I learned how easy [winning the lottery] can ruin people's lives. I refused to let that ruin me and my family.

For those who also dream of becoming winners, Broccoli advises to pay extra for Powerplay when buying a Powerball ticket to increase the jackpot. For Keno, always play the odd number spots. Most importantly, "if you gamble money you can't afford to lose, you should not be gambling."

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January 30 2012 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
Eddy

Hi everybody,I won $70,000 two weeks ago in Nsw 6 pool from 38 lottery play.I was introduced to a spell caster a month ago by a colleague who he helped with marriage and financial issues.All what he said and what he promised to do really happened.I guess never believed in magic or spells because i thought they were mostly scam acts or tricksters until i met Dr. vadoo,everything changed,it exists but only in the right hands and with it everything is possible.I don't know how to pay him for this but i really hope i can do something important and special for him..

July 18 2012 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Imagine turning on the local news to discover that the winning lottery numbers match those on your ticket. Prize amount vary depending on the combination of numbers and stars you match when you play EuroMillions Lottery. Prize amount vary depending on the combination of numbers and stars you match when you play EuroMillions Lottery. Whenever we play the lottery, we wish to have chosen the correct numbers to win the jackpot. Whenever we play the lottery, we wish to have chosen the correct numbers to win the jackpot.

January 30 2012 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jose Diaz

Lottery Strategy That Will Work for You

Did you hear the story about the Oklahoma professor that was shot in the left foot after winning the lottery three times? This is not a joke. It is the truth, it really did happen. This professor hit the mega lottery three times. He was attempting to leave the mall and was abducted by two men that had their faces covered by masks. When he began to make a run from the vehicle that they has placed him in he was shot in the left foot. He was able to continue running until he reached help.
You might be wondering why these men tried to kidnap him in the first place. Well, the reason is because they wanted to know his lottery strategy. They wanted him to tell them how he has won the lottery three times in a row. They knew that he had to have a lottery plan that worked and they wanted to know what it was. In fact, they even threatened to kill him if he did not tell them what the lottery secret was.
So, you are probably thinking the same thing. You probably want to know what the lottery code is so that you can apply it and see if it works for you. I can assure you that it will work for you and you will be amazed at just how simple it is. The man that was shot in the foot spent eight years of his life developing the lottery pattern that has become so very successful for him and he wants to start sharing it with people just like you.
Now, you may be skeptical but I want to let you in on another little secret. He has shared his lottery code with others and they have been just as successful as him. As a matter of fact, one man won $37,000 after just two weeks of using the lottery strategy that the professor is going to share with you. Another individual won $100,000 in just one month.
It is amazing how the lottery code can change a person’s life. It can do the same for you and the professor knows that. He understands how it can help people reach their goals and live comfortably for the rest of their lives. Now, you may be wondering why this man would want to give you his lottery tips when he could save them all for himself. Over the years he has been able to experience how good it makes him feel to help others by giving his lottery strategy to others. This is why he wants you to have it. He does not want to be greedy with all that he has won. He is find a positive way to give back some of his winnings and you should be happy about that.
Website http://tinyurl.com/6k985no

January 15 2012 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply