The Mega Millions jackpot of $636 million has finally been claimed – leaving the country to wonder who the two lucky winners are and if the jackpot will come close to the amount that nearly broke the world record of largest jackpots ever dished out. It also begs the question – what will these two winners, from Georgia and California respectively, be doing with their winnings? Will they invest? Will they splurge? They could take some advice from former lottery winners who made a name for themselves by starting up interesting businesses with their lottery windfalls.
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The first of these entrepreneurs is a 19 year old, Jay Vargas, who won the $17 million Powerball jackpot in 2008. He decided to create a production company with shows featuring his two passions: girls and wrestling. It’s called Wrestlicious and it’s celebrated and praised by many men (and women) across the United States for its humour and sex-appeal. The lesson? Use your lotto winnings to explore your true passions in life.
Cynthia Stafford decided to play the Mega Millions lottery on Mother’s Day and it was a $112 million decision! Luckily for her too, because she was out of work and caring for her late brother’s kids. She then collaborated with the DreamWorks SKS creator David Geffen to launch Queen Nefertari Productions LLC and a $30 million fund for film-making. She hopes to make a film about her life story once the initial films are done. The lesson? Winning the lotto is a good story to sell.
Brad Duke has great expectations for his $84 million fortune that he won through the Idaho State Lottery in 2005 – he plans to grow it into a $1 billion mega-fortune that can be passed down to his kids and grandkids. He has established a health club consulting business called Synergy Fitness Group and a training programme for kids called Duke Speed Academy and invested a portion of his winnings in real estate, oil and gas, and municipal bonds. He’s doing well so far, having grown his $84 million win into $128 million, while donating $12,000 a year to each of his family members through his trust, the Duke Family Foundation. The lesson? You need money to make money, and what better way to make more money than with the already generous jackpot prize!