Here's a question/problem that many of us really, really hope is something we'll have to deal with in the next 24 hours: "What do I do with a billion dollars?"

With the odds of winning tonight's $1.35 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot hovering around 302.5 million to one, I think it's safe to assume that not many of us will actually end up having to lose sleep over figuring out our billion-dollar financial plan going forward.

I just want you to know that I'm here for you, and I'm willing to shoulder that burden.

Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images
That's the face of someone about to quit her job. (Getty Images)

Just For Fun, Let's Say That You, An Illinois Resident, Turn Out To Be The Big Winner Of Tonight's Billion Dollar-Plus Mega Millions Drawing

What's the first thing that you do? Quit your job? Go car shopping? Rent a yacht to float around the Mediterranean while you figure out your next move (my son Spencer's idea)?

I've been reading some advice from financial planners, and it seems that it's not really what you should do if you win, it's more of what you shouldn't do--and that's run around and tell people that you've won. The planning advice that I read basically says that you should:

  • Keep your mouth shut about it to almost anyone except for your closest, most trusted family members
  • Get organized
  • Get a financial plan implemented with a professional
  • Keep yourself anonymous
Getty Images
This is not keeping yourself anonymous. (Getty Images)

Let's Get Back To What You'll End Up With If You Win Here In Illinois

It breaks down like this. You can take 30 annual payments over 29 years (the annuity option), or an immediate cash lump sum, which is what most winners end up going with.

If you go for the cash lump sum, you'll get around $707.9 million. Then, the feds come in, wanting their piece of the action. Your winnings will get hit with the IRS grabbing up 24% right off the top.

But wait, there's more! Your quick rise from rags to riches just put you in America's highest tax bracket of 37 percent, so on top of that 24% the IRS took, you have to give the federal government another 13%.

You just lost $262 million to Washington alone. Now you've gone from $1.35 billion down to about $445 million.

Yeah. Me, too. (Getty Images)
Yeah. Me, too. (Getty Images)

State Income Taxes Vary, And Not Every State Has A State Income Tax

Florida and Texas aren't going to take more of your lottery winnings, but Illinois most certainly is going to. Throw in Illinois' 4.95% flat tax, and you've reduced your winnings yet again by about $22 million to a total take-home amount of around $423 million.

Good luck tonight!

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