Here's how to win the lottery, according to a Romanian-born mathematician who hacked the system, won 14 times, and retired in a remote, tropical island

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  • You might want to know how to win the lottery.
  • Romanian-Australian economist Stefan Mandel developed a secret formula that's allowed him to win the lottery 14 times.
  • It's a six-step process that hacks the system.

You're four times more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the lottery.

Those odds apparently don't apply to Romanian-Australian economist Stefan Mandel. He's won the lottery 14 times, The Hustle reported in a longform feature on the mathematician.

Mandel's first two wins were in his native Romania, where he was trying to earn enough money to get his family out of the then-communist country. His salary was then just $88 a month.

He moved to Israel before settling down in Australia, where he won the lottery an additional 12 times.

Plenty of lottery winners end up blowing it all - spending it on huge houses and Porsches, gambling it away, or getting slammed with lawsuits. To prevent that, CFP Robert Pagliarini previously told Business Insider that lottery winners should assemble a "financial triad" to help plan for their financial future.

"This includes an attorney, a tax person, and a financial adviser," Pagliarini said. "This financial dream team can help you make smart financial decisions and help you plan for the future. They can also help shield you from the media and from the onslaught of money requests from others."

The key way to navigate a sudden windfall like winning the lottery, Pagliarini said, is keeping calm and focusing on the long-term with pragmatic financial planning.

As for Mandel, he set his sights on hacking the Virginia State Lottery, but his lottery stunts eventually landed him in an Israeli prison for 20 months. Now, he lives a quiet life in the South Pacific island country of Vanuatu, which is known for its volcanoes and waterfalls.

Here's the six-step formula to how Mandel managed to make serious cash off the lottery

  1. Calculate the total number of possible combinations. (For a lottery that requires you to pick six numbers between 1 and 40, that means 3,838,380 combinations.)
  2. Find lotteries where the jackpot is three times or more the number of possible combinations.
  3. Raise enough cash to pay for each combination. (Mandel rounded up 2,524 investors for his push to win the Virginia lottery.)
  4. Print out millions of tickets with every combination. (This used to be legal. Now, you would have to buy the tickets right from the store.)
  5. Deliver the tickets at authorized lottery dealers.
  6. Win the cash. And don't forget to pay your investors. (Mandel only pocketed $97,000 after a $1.3 million win in 1987.)
Read the entire feature about Mandel's feat in The Hustle.
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