TODAY | November 28, 2012
>>> let's begin this half hour with more on the $500 million jackpot and in a moment we'll talk to the winners of the last big drawing but first nbc's erica hill is here with a warning. if you're dreaming big this morning, might want to temper your dream.
>> reporter: just a little bit, good morning. for many the big financial gain eventually translate to an even bigger loss which has some people talking about the curse of the lottery. it's become an all too familiar tale.
>> always a dream. always a dream.
>> reporter: for most people winning the lottery sounds like a one-way ticket out of the daily grind .
>> tired of working. i've been working for 60 years
>> reporter: options seem limitless.
>> house boat , yacht, mansion.
>> buy a lot of concert tickets.
>> a big house , mansion probably in las vegas .
>> reporter: and for some striking gold is more than just a far-fetched dream.
>> it's enabled us to help others.
>> reporter: jackie and gilbert sis narz of the l.a. area struck it rich two years ago using their winnings to give back to the community.
>> good fortune that allowed us to start a foundation with the focus on hispanic education.
>> reporter: winning the lottery is obviously a wonderful event, but it's all about your coping skills going into something that really changes your life entirely that will predict whether ultimately this will be a happy event or not.
>> reporter: but for many financial haniness comes at a cost.
>> it changed my life for the better, but in reality it change it had for the worse.
>> reporter: this winner faced a slew of problems. among them a brother who tried to have him killed, a land laid who took a third of his jackpot in a lawsuit, a conviction on an assault charge and bankruptcy, and he's not alone. juan rodriguez was a parking attendant making less than 30,000 a year when he won a jackpot worth $149 million. soon after his wife divorced him and took half his winnings. in south florida , a woman is on trial accused of killing a man who won a $30 million jackpot. she pleaded not guilty.
>> i think wing the lottery is a real double-edged sword. some people are able to really feel happier, have a more comfortable life, but more often than that, people are overwhelmed. the money erodes away at their relationships. they get self-destructive and at the end of the day they would have been better off not winning a lottery.
>> reporter: nevertheless there are, of course, still plenty of people hoping to walk away as the winner of tonight's big jackpot, and they are happy to take their chances. matt?
>> erica, thank you very much. brian and mary know what it's like to become instant multi-millionaires. two months ago they claimed a $202 million powerball jackpot. they are with us for their first national interview. brian and mary, good morning. nice to see you.
>> good morning.
>> since it's your first national interview how does it sound when you hear your name next to multi-millionaires?
>> a little strange.
>> a little different.
>> takes some getting used to?
>> every time we see a number about, you know, the financial projections, it -- you -- we can't fathom it. it's unreal.
>> i was reading about you, and the one thing that impresses me about you is you guys are being very careful. you are not the couple, an you've got three kids, by the way, that ran out and started buying things up. one of the things you did that was really smart, you put together a team before you even claimed the jackpot. who was in that team?
>> we have financial advisers from goldman sachs , an accountant. we have two attorneys. always have to have an attorney.
>> how did you know to do that? where did you get that advice?
>> well, i'm an attorney, and i actually did estate planning , a little bit of estate planning , took estate planning classes so i knew the basics of what large amounts of money needed to do.
>> so when you started to talk to these people that eventually became your team, did you be honest with them, did you say hey, i'm thinking of hiring you because we wouldn't lottery?
>> the attorney i sent her too to the day she told me she won put together the team, he worked with other high net individuals and knew who to call.
>> 130 million is what you end up.
>> after taxes. instant temptation. everybody wants to go out and do something, splurge on something. you really haven't done that yet, have you?
>> well, we've got a couple new cars, you know, clothes, nothing big, and our attorney, the one thing that i hope whoever wins tonight, if it's not us.
>> are you playing in this one, too?
>> she's got a ticket.
>> people would hate you.
>> i know.
>> there would be like a lynch mob after me.
>> it would be terrible.
>> i just won $4 a couple weeks ago.
>> he said grow into the money. don't go out and get everything now. you'll have time for all of that. just grow into the money.
>> people i know have contacted you, want to help you spend your money. they have asked you for donations to things. is there a downside to becoming instant millionaires?
>> you can't help everybody. i mean, we would like, to but you can't. i've got a stack of letters at home this thick of people, just strangers, wanting, you know, and you want to help them but you can't. you don't know who is telling you the truth and who is not.
>> again, i think you guys have handled it awfully well, and i hope you'll continue to do that. congratulations most importantly.