The Mega Millions jackpot has grown to an estimated $521 million ahead of Friday night’s drawing.
The drawing is scheduled for 11 p.m., after no one won on Tuesday. The jackpot has been growing since January. This is the fourth time the Mega Millions jackpot has topped $500 million and currently ranks as the 10th largest prize offered in either Mega Millions or Powerball, according to Mega Millions. It’s still far from the largest jackpot ever won — $1.586 billion on Jan. 13, 2016.
The Powerball jackpot, meanwhile, is an estimated $50 million after there was no winner on Wednesday. A ticket sold in Louisiana had all six numbers last Saturday. The next drawing will take place at 10:59 p.m. Eastern time this Saturday.
The odds of winning Mega Millions are 1 in nearly 303 million, and those for Powerball are about 1 in 292 million. Sadly, you are more likely to die or kill someone while driving 2 miles to buy your Powerball ticket. Or be attacked by a shark.
In both cases, the jackpot is won by correctly picking the numbers on all five white balls drawn (69 choices in Powerball, 70 in Mega Millions) as well as the correct number on the seventh ball (26 red choices in Powerball, 25 gold choices in Mega Millions).
Winners can accept the prize in the form of an annuity to be paid out over 29 years, or they can opt for a lump-sum cash payment. Both options have tax implications and consequences for any winner’s long-term financial goals. The lump sum is the current value of the jackpot in cash, which is typically far less than can be earned via the annuity.
Tickets for each lottery start at $2.
Financial advisers have plenty to say about what to do with the winnings: for example, these five must-dos after winning the lottery
They also have strong views on not wasting money by buying a lot of tickets, given the slim odds. Some of the biggest buyers of what many describe as a voluntary tax are low-income earners, as MarketWatch has reported. Others make the case that investing in the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.38% and Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.07% or other longer-term investments are better ways to put your money to work.
But few things beat the thrill of a lottery.