Jimmie Smith, a resident of East Orange, New Jersey, won $24.1 million from the New York Lottery on May 25, 2016. But he had absolutely no idea.
Park Slope Patch reported that it was only when the one-year deadline approached and local news outlets began to report that no one had claimed the said prize money, that the 68-year-old decided to take a look inside the shirt pocket where he stored old, unchecked lottery tickets.
Once he realized that he had the winning number, Smith stated, “I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air. I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real.”
He also did not hurry to go to Manhattan to collect the prize money, saying that he needed time “to clear out some cobwebs” before he went to claim the winnings.
That sort of calm, collected response is exactly what financial experts recommend.
The retired security officer demonstrated patience again by choosing to take his $24.1 million spread in laddered payments over 26 years. Financial experts claim that this is the responsible choice.
The host of CNBC’s ” Mad Money ,” Jim Cramer ,on the other hand, recommends collecting the earnings in a lump sum.
“Take the money all at once,” said Cramer. “Don’t let them string it out like that. You want the time value of all that cash working for you. That’s vital.”
The advice of Cramer notwithstanding, Smith, a father of two and a grandfather of 12, plans to have an “all-family discussion” regarding what to do with the money, according to lottery officials. Hopefully, that will lead to some wise investing and smart financial planning.
After all, as CNBC Make It reports, ” lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three to five years than the average American.”