The winning numbers for the record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot are 08, 27, 34, 04, 19, and Powerball number 10. To win the full $1.5 billion jackpot (or take a lump sum of $930 million), you must have all six numbers correct.
Winning tickets were sold in California, Florida and Tennessee. The jackpot will be split among the winners.
What to do if you've won the Powerball jackpot
No you haven't. Stop lying. Nope.
The odds of matching at least one number (and therefore winning at least $4) are pretty good: 1 in 25.
But the odds of matching all five numbers plus the Powerball number are 1 in 292,201,338. Those are terrible odds.
If you think you beat them, you should probably check the numbers at the top of this post again.
But if you actually did win the Powerball jackpot — or you would just like to pretend you did — here are some tips:
Take the annuity. The overwhelming majority of Powerball winners take the smaller lump sum prize instead of accepting the full prize paid in 30 annual installments.
And some advice on the internet will tell you that they are correct — because if you expect a good return on investment, you can make more money by investing the lump sum all at once.
But you can't expect a good return on investment. That's not how investments work. You can expect a reasonable return on investment if you invest conservatively; if you invest in high-risk, high-reward things (like the Powerball itself), you can gain more or lose more.
The money you'd save in taxes by taking the annuity works out to a little more than you'd make by investing the lump sum in a reasonably conservative way.
As Vox's Matt Yglesias wrote, "A risky investment strategy might work well, but risky investment strategies are, well, risky, and lottery players do not have a great track record of managing risky investments."
Don't expect the money to make you feel happier — but it will make you more satisfied with your life. Many people have heard that money doesn't buy happiness above $75,000 or so. But they're misreading the study that the finding came from — which actually says that the more money you have, the more satisfied you are, no matter how rich you get.
Dylan Matthews explained the study in more depth. Here's the gist:
While people's day-to-day moods stop getting better after $75,000 in household income, Deaton and Kahneman find there's absolutely no drop-off point for life satisfaction. It's not linear; $10,000 does more for you if you're making $50,000 than if you're making $1 million. But the effect is there, constantly, no matter how much you earn.
Don't expect too much, or you'll be disappointed later. David Heinemeier Hansson became a Danish millionaire overnight. Here's one of the things he learned:
There is an enduring and very real satisfaction and comfort in never having to look at the price of a meal in a restaurant again (even though I still do). But like a good movie that's been hyped to the hills, it's almost impossible not to be let down when you finally see it. Expectations, not outcomes, govern our happiness.
If you really did win the Powerball jackpot, you should probably read Hansson's whole essay. It might help you adjust to your swanky new life.
What to do if you haven't won the Powerball jackpot
Don't try to recoup your losses on lower-payout, more frequent lotteries. As Alvin Chang reports, that way gambling addiction lies:
[Former bodega owner Adam] Osmond says that when he ran his stores, he'd see people come in and start with a Powerball ticket, which is drawn twice a week and has long odds. But they wouldn't win, so they'd play the Pick 3 or Pick 4, which is drawn twice a day with prizes from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Then they'd play the scratch tickets, which they could play constantly.
"The more you play, the more you're going to win," he said. "Winning is what gets to people who play a lot. When you are down, you are always thinking that you gotta play more. Even if you get ahead and get ahead, you're going to put it back."
Don't think you've lost your only chance to save money. One in five Americans believe that winning the lottery is the only way they can accumulate substantial savings. Fifteen percent of millennials say winning the lottery is their retirement plan.
Most of these people don't actually expect to win the lottery — they just don't see any realistic way they're going to save big. But you should probably still try to work out a plan B.
Don't console yourself by thinking the cost of your ticket went to raise more money for public schools. Many states set aside the money they make from the lottery (or part of it) for state education funding. But some states use it for other purposes: Colorado, for example, puts its lottery revenue into a fund for parks, recreation, and conservation. Other places, like Iowa, simply dump most of the money into the state's "general fund."
Even in states where some lottery money goes toward education, it doesn't actually mean public schools will get more money than they otherwise would.
Instead, state legislators just factor lottery revenue into their funding decisions — and put less money toward education out of the state's general fund. So the amount of education funding ends up being similar; it just comes from different places.
As the political scientists Donald E. Miller and Patrick A. Pierce wrote in a 1997 article about state lottery funding and education, "Citizens should recognize that the claims that lotteries will improve education funding are likely to be as misleading as the odds of their winning those lotteries are meager."