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Buzz: Lottery mania, student loan tips, generous grandparents

Let’s just start by saying, Happy Mega Millions Day! With the lottery winnings well into the hundreds of millions, many people are thinking about what they’d do if they won the lottery.If you end up interviewing for a job  – which can also feel like winning the lottery these days – you may be asked just that question.Experts say even if your immediate thought is, “I’d run out of this

Let’s just start by saying, Happy Mega Millions Day! With the lottery winnings well into the hundreds of millions, many people are thinking about what they’d do if they won the lottery.

If you end up interviewing for a job  – which can also feel like winning the lottery these days – you may be asked just that question.

Experts say even if your immediate thought is, “I’d run out of this interview screaming,” it pays to at least try to sound like you’re not interested in the position just for the paycheck.

In reality, about 70 percent of our readers said they’d quit their job if they won the lottery. We’d like to work with the reader who wrote:  “I'd pass out checks to my office co-workers and tell them each to take a month off.”

An island, a submarine, an $845,000 car -- what would be on your shopping list if you won the lottery? Most of our readers said they’d buy a few big-ticket items but save the rest of it.

One reader was thinking realistically:

“I would have to spend a bundle on medical bills - due to the heart attack and fractured skull I would get when I fainted upon hearing I won,” the reader wrote.

OK, back to the real world, where most of us are not going to win the lottery and instead are grappling with more mundane financial worries.

One growing issue: Student loan debt, which some government calculations say has swelled to a total of around $1 trillion.  

This week, we asked readers to provide some tips for managing, or avoiding, student loan debt.

Some readers suggested trying to find a job at a company that will reimburse your education expenses.

Others said they’d worked their way through, taking longer but finishing with the debt hanging over their heads.

Many readers said they’d gotten their initial courses out of the way at a community college, so they could spend less time – and money – at a four-year institution.

Readers also encouraged the crop of incoming students to look hard for any scholarships or grants available, and to make sure they only take out as much student loan debt as they absolutely need.

One great tip: Start planning for your kids’ college experience while they are still very young, saving money for college as well as preparing them academically to best take advantage of college and maybe even land some scholarships.

You also may be able to rely on a little help from Grandma and Grandpa. In another post this week, we reported on an AARP study showing that many grandparents are helping their grandchildren out with education and other expenses.

Most of our readers said that it was equally important for grandparents to give their grandchildren financial help as well as advice for the future.

Many grandparents said they were happy to provide support.

“I don't want my children to have to wait now until I die for them to reap some benefit from my life's work. I gladly and willingly help them in any way I can, making sure that they still are required to do their part and put the effort into their work, marriages and children. If this is what we need to do as families in the current rat-race world, so be it,” one reader wrote.