Cash vs Annuity Mega Millions options

When you win the Mega Millions jackpot you have a tricky decision to make - whether to take one immediate cash lump sum or have the amount paid to you over the space of 30 years. The decision is entirely up to you and both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The majority of past jackpot winners have chosen to take the cash lump sum, however everyone’s personal circumstances could make a difference to their choice.

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Tonight's MegaMillions Jackpot
$61 Million
Cash Lump Sum: $29.3 Million
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Cash Lump Sum

This option is favoured by most players as it gives you all your winnings at once and you don’t have to wait around for 30 years to receive all your money. This gives you the chance to pay your taxes on the money you receive and be done, ready to spend your winnings on whatever you want!

The downside to taking the cash lump sum is that you receive significantly less than the advertised jackpot amount, which can usually be around 42% less than advertised. This is because the advertised jackpot is an estimate of the amount that cash lump sum will be worth in 29 years after the funds have been invested on your behalf by the MUSL.

Annuity Payout

The annuity option will pay you the full amount of the advertised Mega Millions jackpot over the space of the next 29 years. The payments will occur annually and increase by 5% each year until you have received everything you are owed. The main advantage here is that you get a significantly larger sum of money at the end of the 30 years than if you took the cash lump sum.

However, for a lot of people the time frame in which you receive your money is a significant drawback, and could leave you feeling like you haven’t really won a big lottery as you haven’t got all your money there and then. You still have to pay taxes on the money you receive every year, which can be stressful, and you are reliant on the MUSL investing the money on your behalf, when you could possibly get bigger returns investing the money yourself.

Comparison

So which option would you take? Would you follow most other jackpot winners and take a one-off payment, or would you like to be paid over the space of 30 years? You can find a quick comparison below of cash vs annuity to help you make your decision:

Cash vs Annuity Comparison
Cash Lump Sum Annuity Payout
Receive all your winnings in one go Receive the full advertised amount
Free to spend your money there and then regardless of how expensive your purchases are Increasing cash payments every year
Option to invest the money on your own time scale and where you want to Possible reduction in taxes paid compared to lump sum
Significantly lower amount received compared to advertised jackpot Sat around waiting for your winnings
Much easier to spend large chunks and waste it all in a small time frame Don’t have the option to buy something lavish that might be more expensive than your annual payment
Large tax bill on top of a reduction compared to the advertised jackpot could leave you feeling hard done by on the amount of money gone No say in how and where the money is invested