WV Lottery

$450 million Mega Millions winning ticket sold in Florida

The Free Press WV

The winning ticket in the latest Mega Millions drawing was sold in Florida.

One ticket matched all six numbers in Friday night’s drawing and will claim a $450 million grand prize. The Florida Lottery says the winning ticket was bought at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Port Richey.

The winning numbers to claim the nation’s 10th-largest jackpot were 28-30-39-59-70-10.

Lottery officials also increased the jackpot of Powerball, the other national lottery game, to $570 million. That drawing is Saturday night.

The jackpots refer to the annuity options for both games, in which payments are made over 29 years. Most winners opt for cash options, which would be $281 million for Mega Millions and $358.5 million for Powerball.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are one in 302.5 million. Powerball odds are one in 292.2 million.

State lottery officials hope people find luck in Powerball, Mega Millions

The Free Press WV

West Virginians have previously been lucky playing the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery games, and West Virginia Lottery officials hope 2018 will start with a Mountaineer winning big.

For the second time ever, each game has grand prizes worth more $300 million. Mega Millions has a jackpot of $361 million — the eighth-largest top prize in the game’s history — and Powerball’s top prize is $440 million, the ninth-largest jackpot since the game’s start in 1992.

Mega Millions’ winning numbers were 1, 42, 47, 64, 70 and 22 with a 4x multiplier.

West Virginia Lottery spokesman Randy Burnside said Mega Millions will offer bigger jackpots after a ticket price increase from $1 to $2.

“People want those bigger jackpots, that life-changing money,” he said. “Years and years and sales data show that more and more people don’t play now unless those jackpots are at a really high amount.

Burnside added with the jackpots are between $250 million and $300 million is when increases in sales occur. He also said there are other prize options if one does not win the top prize.

“If you match five numbers, you’ve won a million dollars,” he said. “If you match four plus the Powerball, you’ve won $50,000.”

Eight West Virginians have won the Powerball jackpot, with the last winner happening in 2010. According to Burnside, more than 30 people have won prizes of at least $1 million in the Powerball and Mega Millions games.

The Powerball drawing is set for Wednesday at 10:59 p.m.

The Powerball grand prize is $440 million, while Megamillion’s jackpot is $343 million

The Free Press WV

The winning Powerball numbers were not drawn Saturday, increasing the top prize to $440 million.

The drawn numbers were 28, 36, 41, 51, 58 and a Powerball of 24 with a Powerplay of two.

The jackpot has a $278.3 million cash value. There is a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning the grand prize.

The next drawing will be Wednesday at 10:59 p.m.

Mega Millions is scheduled to hold its first drawing of 2018 on Tuesday at 11 p.m. with a jackpot of $343 million.

The prize has a cash value of $215 million.

According to Mega Millions, it would be the eighth-largest jackpot won in the game’s history if the winning numbers are drawn.

There were no winners in Friday’s drawing.

There is a 1 in 259 million chance of winning the Mega Millions jackpot.

Business and Financial News

The Free Press WV

►  Beginning October 28, Mega Millions will offer a new game with jackpots worth more than double of its current value

Beginning October 28, Mega Millions will offer a new game with jackpots starting at values more than double of its current worth.

According to a Mega Millions statement, a redesigned game will allow players to select five numbers between 1 and 70 as well as one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. Players will have a 1 in 24 overall chance of winning a prize, including better odds to win $1 million prizes and higher value secondary prizes.

In terms of the ultimate prize, starting jackpots will increase from $15 million to $40 million.

“We’re excited to deliver the opportunity to create more millionaires and also provide more opportunities to raise additional revenues for the respected causes lotteries benefit,” Mega Millions President Debbie Alford said in a press release.

Alford is also president and CEO of the Georgia Lottery.

The ticket price will also increase from $1 to $2, and players will also have the opportunity to make a $3 wager.

►  Save for retirement before the kids’ college fund

Every year, investment firm T. Rowe Price does an annual survey called “Parents, Kids and Money.“ This year, the report offered some disturbing news: Parents of all boys were more likely to be saving for college than parents of all girls. This kind of antediluvian attitude is alarming in this day and age, and Forbes properly highlighted it. But buried in that survey I found other alarming factoids: More families have college savings than retirement savings, and over two-thirds of families said they prioritized saving for college over retirement.

If this describes you, it’s time to rethink your priorities. Saving for retirement is a necessity. Saving for college is something optional that you do after you make sure you’ll have food and shelter in your old age.

I do not have children. Some readers who do will tell me I just don’t understand that their kids come first – that having brought this life into the world, they are responsible for giving it the best possible start. (Or at least a start commensurate with those of your peers’ children. Keeping up with the Joneses is expensive.)

Actually, I do understand that. And I applaud you parents for everything you’ve given up to keep your children happy, healthy and safe: the mornings you staggered blearily into the office because little Esme spent the night projectile vomiting; the would-be date nights when you stayed home because you couldn’t find a babysitter for young Silas; the vacations you didn’t take; the things you couldn’t buy; the hour upon hour you have spent shuttling them from school to activities to nutritious filling meals, even though you would much rather have collapsed onto the couch with a bag of Cheetos. You are heroes, parents, every one.

What I’m saying is, when you did all that, you did your job. Now you need to take a little time to focus on you.

After all, when you get on a plane, what does the chirpy instructional video tell you? Attend to your own oxygen mask before you turn to your kid. This is not because airlines care less about kids than they do about the passengers with the credit cards. It’s because someone who has passed out from anoxia is not much use to their kid or anyone else. Taking care of yourself is part of being a good parent. If you don’t do it, your kids will have to, and they may not be up to the job.

This is simply common sense. But the evidence suggests that this bit of common sense is eluding a lot of parents.

The T. Rowe Price survey is, of course, just one data point – but it mirrors conversations I have had over and over in my years of writing about personal finance. “We’ll save for retirement as soon as the kids are out of college,“ says someone whose last kid will graduate when they are 57. Or “I’m just not going to be able to retire,“ they say with a shrug. “I’ll have to work until I die, but at least the kids will be started off right.“

This is magical thinking. Fifty-seven is a good age to start planning what you will do in your retirement, but it is a terrible age to start saving for it. You have almost no time for the money to grow, which means that to enjoy a decent standard of living over a 20-year retirement, you would effectively need to be saving more than your salary each and every year. This is not viable.

Nor can you count on being able to work until you drop in the harness. It’s a splendid idea if you can manage it – but a lot of people can’t. They get sick. Or their company makes them redundant, and they can’t find a new job. (Age discrimination is terrible and should be fiercely combated, but it is a reality you must consider in your savings plans.) Or their spouse gets sick and needs more caretaking than can be accommodated by their career. There are a dozen reasons why you cannot – let me reiterate cannot – plan on “working until the age of 75” as your retirement strategy.

For if you do, and it doesn’t work out, what then? Well, let’s hope you’re not planning to find an ice floe and push yourself out to sea. Nor are you going to find it easy to live on what Social Security will give you. So probably you’ll have to ask the kids for help, just at the time when they’re dealing with the financial and emotional struggles of starting their own families.

This is madness. Your kids can get scholarships or borrow for college; you cannot use these means to finance your retirement. You certainly can’t borrow so cheaply, with government-capped interest rates on the loans, and a bevy of repayment plans designed to keep the monthly bill affordable.

Will payments on student loans be a struggle for your kids when they’re starting out? Perhaps. But those loan payments come at a time when one’s financial needs are smallest and lifestyle expectations the lowest. And even my hefty six-figure loan (mostly repaid on a salary that barely cracked the mid five figures, and with no income-based assistance from the government) cost me a lot less per month than supporting an adult or two.

That’s why you need to be saving enough, every year, to provide a comfortable retirement, before you even think about opening a college savings account. There are any number of tools out there to help you figure out how much that is; use them.

And don’t cheat by assuming that you’ll sell the house and move somewhere cheaper. You probably won’t actually want to move to a strange place and start all over making friends at 65, and even if you do, you’ll probably want something nicer than a one-bedroom apartment with a view of a strip mall.

Don’t assume, either, that your expenses will go down. Your commuting costs and dry cleaning bills should indeed go down, and by then let’s hope you’ll have paid off the house. Unfortunately, you’ll also find that you want something to do all day other than stare at the walls, that your medical bills will go up, and that you have to pay people to do things you can no longer do for yourself. And don’t assume an unrealistic rate of return on your investments.

Once your retirement assets are where they should be given your age, and you are putting away an annual sum designed to keep them increasing at the necessary rate, then you can start funneling money into that 529 account for the kids’ college. Until then, focus on giving your children, and yourself, an even more precious gift than debt-free college: not having to worry about what will happen to you in your old age.

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