Lotto Winnings: Annuity or Lump Sum?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

When you win the lottery, there are two ways to receive your prize: an annuity or a lump sum. Which option is better? That depends on your individual circumstances. In this guide, we will discuss the pros and cons of each option and help you decide which is the best choice for you!

Lottery Payout or Lump Sum?

If you win the lottery, you must decide whether to collect the money all at once or over a long time.


The first option is called a lump-sum award. This is when the person who wins the lottery keeps all of their winnings after taxes are taken out.


Option 2 is an annuity. Although it is called a “lottery annuity” by some people, it would be under the safest category of annuities: fixed immediate.

Every state and lottery company has its own rules.

Lottery Annuity

Mega Million Annuity Payments

The Mega Millions annuity is a payment made up of one immediate payment and 29 annual payments thereafter. Each payment grows in size by 5% from the preceding year, which helps protect against inflation.

If someone wins the jackpot of $100 million, they will receive about $1.5 million immediately, and then future annual payments would increase up to about $6.2 million.

What Are The Annuity Payments For Powerball?

If you win the Powerball jackpot, you can choose to receive the jackpot in a lump sum or an annuity paid in 30 graduated payments over 29 years with an annual interest rate of 5%. An annuity calculator can help you determine your payout amounts over time.

Annuity vs. Cash Option

The cash option is a lump-sum payment that can help you avoid long-term taxes and allow you to invest in things like real estate or stocks.

When people win the lottery, they have to pay taxes. As a result, annuities are a popular choice for those who want to receive payments over time, not in one lump sum payment.

It is important to understand the investment returns and costs of the annuity will grow over time.

Annuities protect winners from overspending their winnings.

Like any high-stakes winner, lottery winners risk squandering their money all at once or not investing it properly.

Lotto annuities are generally inflexible, and many people find it difficult to change an immediate annuity.

Annual payments on an annuity might prevent a winner from making investments that generate more money than the interest they earn on the annuities.

Tax Issues

When deciding whether to take a lump sum or an annuity payout, taxes play a major role in the decision process. The advantage of the lump-sum option is that the tax owed will be calculated as it stands at the winning time. After paying taxes on this amount, winners are free to spend or invest as they see fit.

Some people might choose to get an annuity because they are betting that they will not have as much money to pay taxes in the future. This is because there is uncertainty about how much money will be taxed at what rates in the future.

Annuity vs. Cash Option

When you take a lump-sum payment, it is less than the amount just reported as the jackpot. Taxes and discounts are taken out of the payment. You can take your winnings all at once or invest them on your own to help make more money later.

Lotteries may have annuity payments. These payments will be larger than a lump sum payment. Some lotteries do this with equal payments or by making the payments rise to keep up with inflation.

If you receive payments from an annuity, you’ll pay taxes as you go. This means some of the payments will be taxed lower than the lump sum option.

Annuity Advantages

  • Lottery winners sometimes go broke. If you have had trouble with money, you should consider an annuity.
  • You could take the annuity to get a regular, guaranteed income for the next 29 years. This would help you budget your spending.
  • An annuity can help you avoid a lot of taxes. You will not have to pay a ton of money in one lump sum, and you will not have to pay more taxes over the years if you invest in the winnings.

Helpful Tip: Use our free online annuity calculator to determine how much guaranteed retirement income you can receive, now or in the future.

Lump-sum Advantages

  • You might make your money grow faster if you invest it. However, the annuity option will not grow as fast as the lump sum. Interest rates are low now, and people do not get much money from savings. So it is better to take the lump sum right now and make the most out of it.
  • The lump-sum option today would be taxed in the 37% bracket. If you took the annuity, you might be paying higher taxes in the future.
  • The lottery winner’s estate could be hit with a huge tax bill on their inheritance. With the lump sum option, the money will be available to pay those taxes. In contrast, the annuity payment option won’t be liquid for the beneficiaries to pay any large tax bills.
  • Lottery Annuity At Death

An annuity prize for lotteries is awarded to a designated heir at the time of the winner’s death because the annuity payout is a period certain, typically 30ish years.

The primary beneficiary collects the winnings until the term is completed.

Powerball Annuities, Mega Millions Annuities - Lotto Payouts


So, what’s the best option for you? If you are lucky enough to win a large lottery jackpot, it’s important to understand the tax implications of each payout type. The lump-sum option may seem attractive at first because of the big payday, but you would only get about half of that money if you choose this route. The annuity payout is less exciting upfront, but over time you will receive all of your winnings and pay much less in taxes. It’s always important to consult a financial advisor before deciding on major life changes like winning the lottery. Have you ever played the lottery? What was your dream payout scenario?

Lotto Winnings: Do I Take The Annuity Payout Or Lump Sum

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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