Understanding The Difference Between Lottery Payouts: Lump Sum VS Annuity

There are two payout options when you win the lottery jackpot: Annuity and lump sum. It’s important to understand the differences of these payouts so you can make an informed decision on which one is the best option for you.

Most lottery winners choose the lump sum payout but this isn’t always the best option if you are not sure how to handle large finances effectively. On the other hand, the annuity option could be the best choice for young lottery winners.

In this article, we’ve provided extensive information on annuity and lump sum payouts as well as their benefits and drawbacks. Read on so you can choose the right option for your needs if you win the lottery jackpot.

Lottery Payout Options

Some lotteries will give you the option to choose the annuity payout or the lump sum option. However, it’s important to note that not all lotteries have both options. So it’s important to check whether the lottery you’re playing offers both payments.

Before you choose one payout option over another you must first know their differences. In this next section, I’ve explained what an annuity and lump sum option is.

What is Annuity Payment?

An annuity is a portion of your winnings that will be paid to you annually over the course of 30 years. For example, the US Powerball will pay you an average annual payment of $15,233,333 before taxes or $9,632,928 after taxes for the next 30 years.

What is Lump Sum Payment?

If you choose the lump sum option you’ll receive your full winnings after taxes immediately. This means the money will be paid into your account and you will have full access to it after your lottery ticket has been processed. Taxes will differ depending on the lottery you’ve played and the state or the country you live in.

Choosing Annuity Option

For those who want to manage their finances more effectively, the annuity payment is the best option. This option is suitable for younger winners between the ages of 18 and 30. For the next 30 years, you’ll be guaranteed an annual income that should last until your next payment.

Additionally, the annuity option may be suitable for those who have bad spending habits. It prevents winners from overspending and encourages them to save or make smart investments. With the annuity option, there are some aspects to consider. Take a look at these considerations in this next section.

Can You Sell Your Lottery Annuity?

In the US there are currently 28 states that allow jackpot winners to sell their lottery annuity for a lump sum payment. What’s more, jackpot winners have the option to sell some or all of their future payments. However, the terms of this sale can be up for negotiation and it will depend on the lottery company’s rules in the country you’re playing in. The Australian Lottery or the UK National Lottery’s rules may be different from the ones in the US.

How To Sell Annuity Payments?

Annuity Payments

Image: Pixabay

First, you should check if the country or state you live in allows you to sell your annuity payment. Before selling you should check whether the company you’re dealing with is licensed and what type of fees they charge. Then the company should offer you a written quote which should be free. If you find a company you want to sell your annuity to, the organization must draft a contract. This proposal must be approved by a judge who will decide if this option is in the best interest of the lottery winner.

Who Buys Lottery Payments?

There are two types of companies that buy lottery annuities:

  1. Insurance companies
  2. Factoring companies

These companies are the same organizations that buy settlements from sellers who collect mortgage notes and personal injury settlements. On the other hand, factoring companies can offer lottery winners immediate cash for their annuity

What Happens to Your Lottery Annuity When You Die?

Many believe that the government gets to keep your annuity when you die. However, lottery annuities are given to the next of kin or the sole heir of the winnings. Some lottery companies will only transfer the funds if the lottery winner dies.

The remaining assets of the deceased lottery winner will be given to the beneficiary. It should be noted that some lottery companies will cash out the annuity to make it easier for the estate to pay the inheritance to the correct beneficiaries and to pay state taxes.

Choosing Lump Sum Option

The lump sum option is suitable for older lottery players that are not certain they will still be around for a 30 year annuity option. This payment is ideal for those who want to make larger purchases or to support a bigger family.

If you choose the lump sum option you may need to hire a financial advisor to help you manage your finances effectively. Financial advisors will also teach you how to protect your money. The lump sum payment is also an ideal option for those who are unhappy in their place of work and want to leave or those who want to retire early.

The Tax Implications of Your Lottery Payout Options

In the US, both annuity and lump sum payments are subjected to tax. Choosing the lump sum option can help jackpot winners avoid long-term tax implications.

With the lottery, winners can expect to pay tax on their jackpot. However, this is once-off tax payment. After paying your tax you’ll get your lump sum payment.

If you choose the annuity option you’ll need to pay taxes on your payouts every year which can get frustrating.

US Powerball or Mega Millions taxes will differ depending on what state you live in.

Pros and Cons of Lump Sum and Annuity

Before you choose the lump sum or annuity payments it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option. This will help you make an informed decision on which option is suitable for you. Take a look at the table below to compare the two payments.

Payment Type Pros Cons
Lump Sum
  • The ability to make large purchases
  • Avoid long term tax implications
  • You have full control over your money
  • Suitable for older winners
  • The jackpot amount is lower because of federal income tax
  • You could go bankrupt if you don’t manage your finances well
  • You’re guaranteed a payment annually for 30 years
  • Suitable for younger lottery winners
  • Some annuity can be taxed at a lower rate
  • Annuity can sometimes end up being a larger amount than the lump sum
  • You’re subjected to pay tax every year
  • You will have the less financial flexibility
  • You may die before collecting all your winnings

Which Is Smarter for Lottery Winners: Taking Lump Sum or Annuity?

If you are excellent at handling money and making good purchasing decisions then the lump sum option is for you. The lump sum payment is also better for older winners who may not live another 30 years for the annuity payments. Even though the lump sum option does have larger taxes you can avoid paying taxes annually on payouts for the next 30 years. 

Lump Sum vs Annuity

Image: Pixabay

On the other hand, if you know that you can’t manage your finances and you don’t feel the need to make larger purchases then the annuity option is for you. This payment is ideal for those who want to have a guaranteed income for 30 years and don’t want to run the risk of becoming bankrupt.


Do all states have the same federal tax on lottery winnings?

No, not all states will have the same tax on lottery winnings. For example, North Dakota has a 2.90% on lottery winnings whereas New York charges an 8.82% tax on winnings.

Do Mega Millions offer both the lump sum and annuity options?

Yes, Mega Millions does offer jackpot winners a lump sum or annuity option which are both subjected to tax.

Is a lottery annuity guaranteed?

Yes, you are guaranteed a payout annually for 30 years after choosing the annuity option. However, some people still choose the lump sum option because they may die before receiving their full winnings. 

Can choose the annuity over lump-sum offer financial freedom?

You can have financial freedom with both the lump sum and annuity options if you spend your money wisely. Your annuity payments can last for the entire year until your next payment if you don’t overspend.

Should you choose the annuity or lump sum option?

This option will depend on how old you are and how much financial freedom you want. Most people choose the lump sum option because it’s easier to deal with taxes. Other people may choose the annuity option if they want to be more conservative with their winnings. Choosing one option over the other is a personal choice.

Why do most lottery winners choose the lump sum option?

The reason why winners choose the lump sum option is that it gives them the freedom to spend or invest their winnings how they see fit. The lump sum option also provides certainty for winners whereas the annuity option doesn’t.


Choosing a lump sum or annuity payment will depend on your preference, age, and spending habits. There are lottery winners who lost it all because they didn’t manage their lump sum payment correctly. The annuity option does seem like it’s the smartest choice out of the two but dealing with the taxes for annual payment can be frustrating.

On the other hand, the lump sum option allows you to make bigger investments so you can grow your money instead of spending it all at once. Use the information in our article to help you make a decision on which payment option is best for you!