DES MOINES, Iowa – Think you are confident about wager on Wednesday’s Powerball win estimated at $ 1.2 billion?

If so, you have to decide whether to take cash that would actually pay out $ 596.7 million, or choose the $ 1.2 billion annuity option, which is double the price but paid over 29 years.

Giant jackpot winners almost always take cash, and financial advisers say it could be a mistake.

Nicholas Bunio, a certified financial planner from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, said that even with his experience, he would take a life annuity as it would drastically reduce the risk of making bad investment decisions.

“It lets you make a mistake here and there,” said Bunio. “People don’t understand that there is a possibility of loss. They only focus on profit potential. “

The gap between cash and annuity options widened as inflation pushed interest rates up, which in turn resulted in potentially higher returns on investments. With annuities, the jackpot cash is essentially invested and then paid to winners for three decades.

Under the disability plan, winners will receive an immediate payout followed by 29 annual payouts that increase by 5% each year until they finally reach $ 1.2 billion.

Lottery winners who take cash either don’t want to wait for a win or think they can invest money and get more money than the annuity would offer. This is almost always done by the top winners, including Illinois Mega Millions ticket buyers in July, who received a lump-sum payment of $ 780.5 million after winning a prize of $ 1.337 billion.

As Jeremy Keil, a financial advisor from New Berlin, Wisconsin, put it: “There is no wrong choice.”

Keil said the Powerball annuity assumes a 4.3% return on investment in the jackpot cash prize.

“If you think you can beat 4.3%, you should take cash,” said Keil. “If not, get a pension.”

When buying five Powerball tickets at a Speedway gas station in Minneapolis, 58-year-old Teri Thomas said she would prefer to collect a cash prize as she believes she will not live long enough to collect a pension over 29 years.

“And I wish all my good deeds were done at once and that I was comfortable giving,” said Thomas, adding that she would donate to groups that do medical research for children, as well as help veterans, homeless people, and pets.

Charles Williams of Chicago, who buys a Powerball ticket every week and always plays the same numbers, was adamant that he would go for the cash option.

“I want all the money. I want the money and then I will spend it as I want because there is nothing guaranteed in life, ”Williams said.

Of course, it’s good to remember that your chance of winning the jackpot is incredibly small at 1 in 292.2 million. This is why no one has won the Powerball jackpot since August 3 – making 38 consecutive draws with no jackpot winner.

With all these losses, the Powerball jackpot has grown to the fourth largest in US history. If nobody wins on Wednesday night, the jackpot could become the biggest ever, surpassing the $ 1.586 billion Powerball prize that three coupon holders won in 2016.

Officials encourage anyone lucky enough to win a Powerball jackpot to consult a financial advisor – while keeping your precious coupon safe – before showing up at the lottery office for an oversized check.

Matt Chancey, an investment advisor in Tampa, Florida, said it certainly made sense. Chancey also urged winners to understand that if advisors earn a percentage of all of that money’s investment, they are financially involved in how the money is paid out and should be clear about any potential conflict.

“If you go to a financial person and say you want to invest $ 1 billion, the financial person says take $ 600 million and we pay tax on them, you have $ 300 million left, and I will invest it,” Chancey said. “This investment advisor will get fees for managing this money.”

Chancey said talented investors could possibly earn more money than paid for in annuities, but there are risks and advisers need to be open to their potential profit depending on the choices of jackpot winners.

Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as in Washington, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Associated Press writers Trisha Ahmed of Minneapolis and Margery A. Beck of Omaha, Nebraska and video journalist Teresa Crawford of Chicago contributed to this story.

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