The Next Step: What To Do With The Millions?

By Chris Earl, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – As the shift workers left the Pepsi Co Quaker Oats facility in downtown Cedar Rapids, the buzz of a $241 million Powerball victory filled the air.

Drivers honked horns as they sped out past reporters trying to catch a comment from one of the winners of Wednesday night's Powerball drawing. The Iowa Lottery said on Thursday morning that someone purchased the winning ticket at the Hy-Vee on Edgewood Road NE in Cedar Rapids.

"The absolute first thing you have to do is slow down," said Pete Alepra, senior vice president with RBC Financial Services in Cedar Rapids. "Take a step back and enjoy the moment because I am guessing the next 24 hours will probably be one of the most incredible days of your lives."

If you type in the words "lottery winner" and "ruined lives" to a search engine, hundreds of thousands of hits come up. This can present a major tight rope to walk for people who pitched in for a Powerball ticket but, now, may have to be careful what they wish for.

For spending the millions that each of the winners with a cut of the prize is entitled to, plenty of luxury items will be courting the cash. From high-end cars and trucks to seven-figure homes that have been sitting on the real estate market for some time, the temptations are out there.

Steve Emig of Skogman Realty is listing one of few homes with an asking price of more than $1 million. An internet search revealed only five homes at that minimum price range in all of Linn County.

Emig said this new influx of millionaires could be a boom for sellers who may have had a difficult time finding buyers.

Back at RBC, Alepra has more than 20 years of experience in managing money. He said looking far into the future to determine the best course should be one of the first things the winner of a major prize should pursue.

"They're probably in a state of shock and the long term decisions they need to make, they can put off a month, two months or six months," said Alepra. "Any decision they make will be from an emotional perspective rather than a long-term perspective."
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