No sign of McClellan Park Powerball winner

Published: Tuesday, Mar. 4, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Mar. 4, 2014 - 7:17 am

News that a winning Powerball ticket was sold at a gas station near McClellan Park raised eyebrows throughout the Sacramento region over the weekend.

But the fact that no one stepped forward Monday to claim the $60 million jackpot came as no surprise to lottery experts.

“For a jackpot this size, most people take a couple days,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Lottery, which participates in the multistate Powerball game. “Most people don’t know what they would do with that much money.”

The first day can be a bit of a shock, he said, but most people don’t wait more than a week to claim their winnings. After a month, he said he starts to wonder what’s taking the lucky ticket holders so long. Every now and again prizes – even big ones – go unclaimed. Large and small, some $20 million in prize money goes unclaimed after the winner’s one-year window expires, Traverso said.

Sunday’s $60 million ticket was sold at Tooley Oil, 5520 Dudley Blvd., within the McClellan complex.

It’s the third jackpot hit by a Northern California player in four months, including a record $425 million Powerball ticket that was sold in Milpitas last month.

The winner of that lottery has not claimed the prize either. That winning ticket, announced Feb. 20, was sold at Dixon Landing Chevron, 1551 California Circle, in Milpitas.

Financial advisers say people are wise not to walk into the lottery office without a game plan and some financial help.

“Most of them have enough sense to go and talk to a tax man,” said Terry Dorsey, a investment counselor based in Lincoln.

Susan Bradley, a Florida-based certified financial planner and founder of the Sudden Money Institute, has a multistep checklist of activities and questions winners should navigate before they claim a prize. Her clients create a set of policies to help them, the newly rich, navigate the onslaught of financial requests, business proposals and investment opportunities.

“These people have won money but lost their norms,” said Bradley, author of the book “Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall.”

She advises people to get a new phone number, a financial adviser and a place to hide out before collecting the winnings.

“Giving money to relatives and friends doesn’t always get you where you want to go,” Bradley said. “It can complicate relationships. Without any system, that’s what makes the family relationships go toxic.”

One client chose to make a sizable contribution to family members, but the money came with two caveats. One was to share how they used it, Bradley said. The second stipulation was that the money was a one-time deal.

She said it takes winners about five years to settle into their new lives, with new relationships, expectations and privacy concerns. The key, she said, is to craft a life that is comfortably within the winner’s new means.

“It’s hard to drop out of everything you know and step into a new life,” Bradley said. “You can actually create a lifestyle that is untenable. People can blow the money.”

Call The Bee’s Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @NewsFletch.

Read more articles by Ed Fletcher

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