Imagine winning the lottery—what's the first thing you'd purchase?  I dream of the financial freedom that comes with paying off my mortgage, so that would be my immediate move. Then, I'd start planning a luxurious getaway to celebrate.

Fortune smiled upon an Iowa man recently, but he is keeping his plans for the winnings under wraps for now. With his newfound fortune, he could certainly pay off a substantial amount of debt and treat himself to something nice like a vacation or a new vehicle.

How People Would Spend Lotto Winnings

According to a survey by GoBankingRates, most Americans say paying off their debts is the first thing they'd do if they won a big lottery jackpot. Other popular responses included sharing the winnings with family and investing for the future.

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Thinking about winning a major jackpot and how you would spend the cash is fun, but before splurging on anything, experts say it is important to take proactive measures to protect yourself and your money.

Jenna Taubel from First Alliance Credit Union spoke with us last year and said most lottery winners have to declare bankruptcy within a few years of winning.

Iowa Man Collects Major Lottery Jackpot

Iowa Lottery officials presented a resident of Mason City, Iowa, with a large check when he showed up at the Iowa Lottery Headquarters in Clive, Iowa, last week to collect the massive jackpot he had won.

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Randall Petersen, pictured above, was all smiles when he showed up to collect his  $250,000 lottery prize.

Officials say Petersen won the seventh top prize in the Iowa Lottery's "Lucky 7 Bonus" scratch game. His winning ticket was bought at Express Lane in Davenport.

LOOK: The largest lottery jackpots in US history

Stacker compiled a list of the 15 largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history from news reports and lottery press releases. [This list is current as of July 25, 2023.]

Gallery Credit: Chandler Friedman

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